National Catholic Reporter
The Independent Newsweekly
Issue Date:  November 7, 2003


Patricia Ireland, the former longtime president of the National Organization for Women, has been fired as the chief executive officer of the YWCA, a position she held for less than six months. Conservative Christian organizations had criticized the hiring of Ireland. A statement from the YWCA board said, “We have the deepest admiration for Ms. Ireland’s dedication to women’s issues and social justice, but the YWCA has proved to be the wrong platform for her to advocate for these issues.” The YWCA provides child-care services and after-school programs to more than 750,000 children nationwide. It also provides shelters for women and families and runs violence prevention programs.

Virginia Munino, 54, a former nun who left religious life to care for her ailing parents, was selected as outstanding female farmer in the Asia-Pacific region by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Munino has farmed in Tampakan, Philippines, since 1994. Her farm is an organic operation. She produces natural pesticides out of crushed leaves and tree bark mixed with red chili pepper. She also grows a flowering plant with yellow petals that acts as a natural insect repellant, and she makes fertilizer from animal waste, banana peels, corncobs and leaves.

Hans Küng, a Swiss theologian, reflecting on the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s election Oct. 16 told the Swiss weekly Sonntagszeitung, “For the Catholic church, this papacy was a disaster despite some positive aspects. Don’t be fooled by the Masses at big papal events. During this papacy, millions have fled the church or quietly turned inward.”

Patrick Hambrecht, 29, the lead singer of the performance-art band Flaming Fire, is trying -- with a little help from his friends and the Internet -- to illustrate the Bible. One verse at a time. All 36,665 verses of the King James Bible. By early October, Hambrecht had collected 1,262 illustrations. The illustrations are scanned and then posted at the project’s Web site, Some were collected at scripture drawing parties in New York or during the group’s visits to Chicago and Nebraska on tour. A growing number have been submitted by volunteers who logged onto the Web site.

Ricardo Montalban received the Life Achievement Award on Oct. 19 at the 11th annual Catholics In Media Associates awards, which also honored the movie “Seabiscuit” and the NBC family drama “American Dreams.”

Sr. Dianna Ortiz, author of the award-winning book The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth, was honored Oct. 16 with the 2003 U.S. Catholic Award for furthering the cause of women in the church. Ortiz, an Ursuline Sister of Mount St. Joseph, accepted the award on behalf of members of her organization, the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition, and on behalf of all who have suffered torture. She was abducted, tortured and raped 14 years ago in Guatemala, where she was a teacher of indigenous children.

Archbishop Pius A. Ncube of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, was honored at a dinner in New York Oct. 23 by the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, a New York-based agency celebrating the 25th anniversary of its advocacy program that works in the United States and abroad on issues related to refugees, fair economic practices, civil liberties after Sept. 11 and other concerns. A committee statement in the dinner program said the archbishop’s “clear and brave voice of moral courage has given voice to thousands of Zimbabweans whose daily suffering is too often dismissed or ignored in Africa and elsewhere.”

Fr. Francis Moloney, an Australian Salesian and a well-known Bible scholar, has been named dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington. Moloney, 63, has taught New Testament studies at the university since 1999. He has been a member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission since 1986 -- making him one of the longest serving members on that body. In 2001 he was the first non-American ever to be elected president of the Catholic Biblical Association of America.

National Catholic Reporter, November 7, 2003

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