- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 19, 2008

Parishes ready for independence

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland is handing over property deeds to its parishes in a move to make them legally independent, part of a bankruptcy settlement the archdiocese reached last year with victims of sex abuse by priests.

Each parish will be reorganized into a nonprofit “member corporation” with a five-person board of directors.

The archdiocese argued in federal bankruptcy court that church real estate belonged to the parishes, not the archdiocese. The reorganization will spell that out legally.

The victims argued the real estate could be sold to meet settlement claims against the archdiocese.

Muslim group asks for school inquiry

ST. PAUL, Minn. — An Islamic advocacy group has asked police and the FBI to investigate reported threats against a Twin Cities charter school attended by many Muslims.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) made the request after the director of Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy in Inver Grove Heights, a Twin Cities suburb, told police that he and the school had received threatening and harassing phone messages and e-mails.

The school said the threats began after a newspaper columnist questioned whether the publicly funded K-8 school promotes Islam.

Chris Schumacher, a spokesman for the Minnesota chapter of CAIR, called it “a sad reflection” of the level anti-Muslim feeling has reached in U.S. society that the column has apparently resulted in “hatred directed at innocent students.”

Catholic archbishop bans canon lawyer

ST. LOUIS — A prominent Roman Catholic priest and canon lawyer, who says he has been helping those “harmed by the institutional Catholic Church” since 1985 and counseling an ethnic Polish church here, has been banned from working in the St. Louis archdiocese.

St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke issued a decree charging the Rev. Thomas Doyle with two “canonical crimes” related to his defense of two excommunicated board members of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.

The decree states Doyle, a Dominican priest and canon lawyer based in Virginia, did not receive prior approval from Bishop Burke to represent the board members or immediately respond to Burke’s summons to appear before him.

Correctional worker claims persecution

WILMINGTON, Del. — The kitchen manager at the state’s Webb Correctional Facility says he is being persecuted for his Christian beliefs, claiming that his supervisor ordered him to remove a Bible from his desk and from the prison.

William Parker 45, who started working in the Department of Correction as a prison guard 21 years ago, said he has removed the Bible but says he will seek legal advice.

“There are Bibles all over the prison,” he said. “We had a Bible rack put in the main hallway. It’s just an issue that I had one on my desk. I have Muslim co-workers who are allowed to get out their prayer rugs and pray during their shifts.”

He said a Bible has sat on his desk for about two years, and he sometimes reads it for inspiration and encouragement.

Elizabeth Neal, the acting warden, said that while no worker has been disciplined for reading a Bible, she doesn’t want any employee reading anything while on duty.

From combined wire and dispatch reports

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