News Briefs

By Katie McNulty
April 14, 2005

According to, a small but symbolic protest by victims of sex abuse by priests in the Catholic Church was obstructed on Monday, April 10 when police escorted one of the organizers off St. Peter’s Square before she could distribute fliers.

Barbara Blaine, founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, was put behind barricades set up at the entrance to the square. Blaine and another member of the group were demanding that Vatican officials ban Cardinal Bernard Law from celebrating an important mass mourning Pope John Paul 11. Blaine and other members of the Survivors Network believe that the Vatican made what they call a “hurtful decision” to choose Law for the honor.

Law resigned as archbishop of Boston in December 2002 after unsealed court records revealed that he repositioned predatory clergy in other parishes without alerting parents that their children were at risk for being sexually assaulted. More than 550 people filed abuse claims in Boston and the archdiocese has paid out more than 85 million in settlements.

John Bolton faces Senate Foreign relations Committee

According to, John Bolton, Presidents Bush’s choice to represent the United States at the United Nations, appeared before the Senate Foreign relations Committee and faced some difficult questions.

In an opening statement, Bolton said that if confirmed as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. he would focus on four main priorities: Strengthening institutions that strengthen democracy and freedom, stopping the production of weapons of mass destruction, supporting the war against terrorism and fighting crises such as the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Although Bolton clearly seems to be supported and respected, some senators question his nomination. Bolton has drawn criticism for a comment he made back in 1994 when he made a statement that “there is no such thing as the United Nations.”

Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware said that he had “grave concern” about Bolton’s nomination. He also said he respected Bolton’s abilities and intellectual capacity, but he questioned his judgment and temperament.

Opponents of Bolton also criticize some of his recent statements saying that his statements are abrasive confrontational and insensitive.

President Bush’s concern for peace in the Middle East

According to, President Bush asked Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon both publicly and privately on Monday, April 10 not to expand a key Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

“I told the prime minister not to undertake any activity that contravenes the road map or prejudices final status obligations,” Bush told reporters.

The United States has disagreed to an Israeli plan to add 3,650 homes to the West Bank’s largest settlement, Maaleh Adumim because they believe the plan would cut off Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. It threatens peace with Palestinians and violates the internationally backed “road map” peace plan that calls for a settlement freeze.

Israel insists it has the right to continue expanding these settlements.

Prime Minister Sharon plans to dismantle all 21 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and four in the Northern West Bank in July and August, removing 9,000 Israelis from their home.

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Katie McNulty

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