Donovan, Gill, National Catholic Reporter
DALLAS DI0CESE, which four years ago faced the prospect of bankruptcy over a $119-million court judgment, has paid off all its debts. In 1997 the diocese said it was considering bankruptcy after a jury ordered it to pay a record $119 million to the victims of a priest convicted of sexual abuse of minors. Under court mediation that judgment was reduced to a settlement of $30 million, of which the diocese paid about one-third and its insurance carriers paid the remainder.
A DRIVE TO ABOLISH the death penalty in Oregon is "taking off with a big head start," said the campaign's manager. Having come up short of signatures to qualify for the state's 2000 ballot, opponents of capital punishment hope to qualify an initiative for the 2002 elections. A group called the Life for a Life Committee wants to replace the death penalty with sentences of life in prison without parole and require those convicted of murder to make restitution to victims' families.
THE WHITE HOUSE intends to maintain offices that will address AIDS and race relations, spokesman Ari Fleischer said Feb. 7, correcting a "mistake" by chief of staff Andrew Card. In a reversal of Card's earlier statement, Fleischer said the AIDS office will remain open. But rather than having a czar, there will be a health expert handling AIDS policy on the Domestic Policy Council and an AIDS expert from the Department of Health and Human Services, USA Today reported. The race office will be maintained through a new "working group on uniting America that focuses on improving race relations."
BISHOP JOHN J. SULLIVAN, who led the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese from 1977 to 1993, died Feb. 11 at the Jeanne Jugan Center, a care facility run by the Little Sisters of the Poor. Sullivan, who was 80, retired in 1993 because of the debilitating effects of Parkinson's disease. He had a lifelong history of involving lay people in church ministry and service to the poor. In Kansas City, he established the Center for Pastoral Life and Ministry to provide training for parish ministry to laity, priests and religious.
KATHLEEN MAAS WEIGERT, a justice and peace scholar and author, has been named the first director of the new Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service at Georgetown University in Washington. …