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Issue Date:  March 7, 2008


Serene Jones, a feminist scholar at Yale Divinity School, has been named the new president of Union Theological Seminary, a flagship institution of liberal Protestantism. Jones, 48, is the first woman to head the 172-year-old nondenominational seminary located in upper Manhattan. Her presidency also represents a generational shift: Jones succeeds 74-year-old Joseph C. Hough Jr., who is retiring after serving nine years in the post. Jones will begin her duties July 1.

Rodney L. Rodis, a former priest of the diocese of Richmond, Va., was given a 63-month prison sentence Feb. 21 after pleading guilty to a parish embezzlement scheme. He was ordered to pay $591,484 in restitution. Rodis, a native of the Philippines, embezzled the money from two parishes he had been pastor of since 1993. Rodis was secretly married and unbeknownst to his parishioners or the diocese, he lived with his wife and three daughters in Fredericksburg, Va., 50 miles from his parishes.

Donald J. McGuire, a Jesuit priest convicted of molesting students at a Chicago-area Catholic school in the 1960s, was officially defrocked Feb. 22. McGuire, 77, faces charges in federal court for traveling abroad and across state lines to engage in sex with a teenage boy. The offenses are alleged to have occurred in 2000, 2001 and 2002 in Austria, Switzerland, Nicaragua and Minnesota.

Catholics of the Montagnard community in La Grai, central Vietnam, were unable to celebrate Mass on Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Feb. 7 because the local People’s Committee explicitly forbade it, saying that since Tet is not a Catholic holiday, Catholics had no right to celebrate Mass that day.

The body of St. Padre Pio will be exhumed, studied and displayed for public veneration from mid-April to late September, said the archbishop who oversees the shrine where the saint is buried at San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. In addition to marking the 40th anniversary of Padre Pio’s death Sept. 23, 1968, the public veneration of his remains also will coincide with the 90th anniversary of his having received the stigmata, bloody wounds recalling the crucifixion wounds of Jesus. Padre Pio was beatified in 1999 and canonized in 2002.

National Catholic Reporter, March 7, 2008

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