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Issue Date:  February 8, 2008


Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, died Jan. 30 at the age of 87 in the United States. Maciel was notified by the Vatican in 2006 that he could not publicly practice his priestly ministries after the Vatican investigated claims of sexual abuse made by former seminarians of the order. Funeral services are to be private.

Chess legend Bobby Fischer, who died Jan. 17, was buried as a Catholic, according to reports from Agence France-Presse. Presiding at the funeral was Fr. Jakob Rolland of the diocese of Reykjavik, the capital of Fischer’s adopted home, Iceland. Fischer, 64, was born into a Jewish family in New York. Asking people to respect the intensely private Fischer, Rolland said, “I don’t know if he converted to the Catholic faith, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t.”

In 2000, after decades of teaching social justice to Catholic school students in Iowa and Oregon, Franciscan Sr. Dorothy Marie Hennessey at age 87 committed civil disobedience during the annual protests at the Army’s training school for Latin American soldiers at Fort Benning, Ga. For that she spent six months in the federal penitentiary at Pekin, Ill. Her younger sibling, Franciscan Sr. Gwen Hennessey, was with her at the protest and in prison. Sr. Dorothy died Jan. 24, just one day short of her 76th anniversary of joining the Sisters of St. Francis, Dubuque, Iowa. She was 94.

-- CNS

Archbishop Christodoulos, the 69-year-old primate of the Greek Orthodox church, died Jan. 28 in Athens after a long struggle with intestinal and liver cancer. Pope Benedict XVI called Christodoulos a “distinguished pastor” who “opened a new era of cordial cooperation” between Catholics and Orthodox. NCR readers will note that under Christodoulos the Greek Orthodox church in 2004 restored the order of diaconate for women.

National Catholic Reporter, February 8, 2008

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