National Catholic Reporter
The Independent Newsweekly
Issue Date:  December 19, 2003


Sacred Heart Sr. Carolyn Osiek, professor of New Testament at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas, is the new vice-president, president-elect of the Society of Biblical Literature. She is only the fourth woman, and the eighth Catholic, to be elected to that post in the 123-year history of the international scholarly organization. The organization, which promotes critical investigation of the Bible, has 6,000 members. She joined Brite Divinity School in September after 26 years as a professor at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Osiek served as president of the Catholic Biblical Association in 1995.

The Dalai Lama spoke privately with the Pope John Paul II Nov. 27 in an audience that was not listed on the pontiff’s official activities. A papal spokesman said afterward, “It was a brief courtesy visit of an exclusively religious nature.” An informed Vatican source said the Vatican recognizes the Dalai Lama as a world religious leader but downplayed the meeting for fear of political reaction by China. The Dalai Lama has been pushing for autonomy for Tibet, a land he fled when it was occupied by China in 1951.

Julia Gabriel, Lucas Benitez and Romeo Ramirez, three leaders of the church-supported Coalition of Immokalee Workers, received the 2003 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award at a Washington ceremony last month. The three were cited in particular for their work in freeing more than 1,000 field workers in South Carolina and Florida from slavery rings by employers using violence and the threat of violence.

Carol Gentile of Monaca, Pa., has been elected national minister of the Secular Franciscan Order in the United States, making her the first woman to head the 17,000-member U.S. branch in more than 20 years. Her election to a three-year term took place during a national meeting at Mission Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, Calif. Professed in the secular order in 1984, Gentile has served as a representative for Franciscans International to the United Nations. She and her husband, Louis, have three children.

National Catholic Reporter, December 19, 2003

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