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Issue Date:  December 21, 2007

PEOPLE, the Web site devoted to religion and spirituality, has named Liviu Librescu, the accomplished scientist and engineering professor who died in April while saving his students from a gunman on a killing rampage at Virgina Tech University, as its Most Inspiring Person of the Year. Librescu, a Holocaust survivor, told his students to jump from the windows of the second-floor classroom, while he barricaded the door with his body. He was shot and killed through the door.

-- CNS

Mercy Sr. Margaret Farley, a professor emeritus of Christian Ethics at Yale Divinity school, has been awarded the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in Religion from the University of Louisville, Ky., and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary for her work in sexual ethics, particularly for her 2006 book Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics. Farley is the first woman to teach full-time at Yale Divinity School. The award includes a $200,000 prize.

Brazilian Catholic Bishop Luiz Cappio began Dec. 11 the third week of a hunger strike aimed at protecting the Sao Francisco River in the arid northeast of the country. Cappio is opposing a $3.6 billion government plan to build two canals. Cappio’s supporters say a the vast majority of diverted water will go to commercial, inland shrimp farms that supply export markets and to steel plants in the city of Fortaleza, leaving subsistence farmers with little or no water. Cappio is drinking only filtered river water.

Lt. Cmdr. John Thomas Matthew Lee, a 42-year-old Catholic Navy chaplain, was sentenced Dec. 6 to two years in a military brig after he pleaded guilty to charges of sexual misconduct with members of the military. As part of a pretrial agreement, Lee, who is HIV-positive, must provide a list of sexual partners he has had since learning his HIV status to allow medical officials to make contact with people who need to be tested. His priestly faculties have been suspended since June.

National Catholic Reporter, December 21, 2007

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