- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 15, 2007

Archdiocese to sell convent to pay suit

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles is selling a convent that has housed an order of nuns for more than four decades to help pay for a record-breaking sex abuse settlement.

Three nuns from the Sisters of Bethany order have until Dec. 31 to move out, though an earlier departure “would be acceptable as well,” the archdiocese’s vicar general said in a letter to the nuns.

In July, the archdiocese announced a record $660 million settlement with clergy-abuse victims. Of that, as much as $373 million will be paid by the archdiocese, with the rest coming from insurers and various religious orders.

To help cover the bill, the archdiocese plans to sell up to 50 non-parish properties, including its administrative headquarters.

Top Presbyterian official to retire

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick will retire when his term as the top official of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) expires next year.

Mr. Kirkpatrick has been elected three times since 1996 as stated clerk, the top church officer for the 2.3 million-member denomination.

He plans to spend more time with family and as president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, which includes more than 200 Protestant denominations.

“While this work has been a great blessing, it has also taken a significant amount of time and energy and has been accompanied with more than a fair share of stresses and strains,” Mr. Kirkpatrick said.

The stated clerk of the denomination is responsible for such matters as church property, research, church legislative sessions and legal matters.

Some conservatives have criticized Mr. Kirkpatrick for a continued membership decline in the denomination and his handling of the ongoing debate over homosexuality in the church.

College names center for Hastert

WHEATON, Ill. — Wheaton College, one of that nation’s training grounds for future evangelical leaders, is naming a new public policy center after former U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert.

The J. Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government and Public Policy will open in December.

Mr. Hastert, Illinois Republican and a school alumnus, has played an active role in raising funds to establish the center, which college officials said will focus on market economies, representative democracies, limited government and “human action rooted in Christianity.”

Wheaton officials said they have raised $5 million to renovate the building where the center will be housed, another $2.5 million for a faculty chairperson, and still must find another $2.5 million to fully fund the center.

Mr. Hastert, who donated his congressional papers to the college for public use, will not teach classes. However, building plans show a conference room that will double as an office for the former House speaker.

Mr. Hastert, who lost the speaker’s post last year after Democrats won control of the House, announced last month he would not seek another term in Congress.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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