Donate to RNS

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2004 Religion News Service Editors: Check the RNS photo Web site at https://religionnews.com for photos to accompany this digest item. Former Washington Cardinal James Hickey Dies at 84 WASHINGTON (RNS) Cardinal James Hickey, the soft-spoken former archbishop of Washington and one of only 14 U.S. cardinals, died Sunday (Oct. 24) after a lengthy illness. […]

c. 2004 Religion News Service

Editors: Check the RNS photo Web site at https://religionnews.com for photos to accompany this digest item.

Former Washington Cardinal James Hickey Dies at 84

WASHINGTON (RNS) Cardinal James Hickey, the soft-spoken former archbishop of Washington and one of only 14 U.S. cardinals, died Sunday (Oct. 24) after a lengthy illness. He was 84.

Hickey was named to the prominent archdiocese by Pope John Paul II in 1980 and made a cardinal in 1988. He retired in 2000 as a non-voting member of the College of Cardinals and the nation’s second-eldest cardinal. He never had the opportunity to vote for a new pope in a conclave.

“The death of Cardinal Hickey is poignant for the church of Washington and a personal loss for me,” said Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who succeeded Hickey and was at his bedside when he died. “Although he carried a heavy cross of illness during the past few years, his courage and faith continued to be a great inspiration to us all.”

Hickey shied away from the limelight of his post and carried a special devotion to the poor. Under his watch, Catholic Charities of Washington became the region’s largest provider of social services, and he also launched a nonprofit agency to provide housing to the elderly.

“We serve the homeless not because they are Catholic, but because we are Catholic,” he once said. “If we don’t care for the sick, educate the young, care for the homeless, then we cannot call ourselves the church of Christ.”

President Bush, in a statement, praised Hickey as “an inspirational leader who brought comfort to the sick and help and hope to those in need. He was a caring and compassionate man.”

James Aloysius Hickey was born in 1920 in Midland, Mich., and entered the seminary at age 13. He was ordained in 1946 and went on to earn two doctorates from prestigious seminaries in Rome. In 1967, he was named auxiliary bishop of Saginaw, Mich., and then served as rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome from 1969 to 1974.

In 1974, Hickey was named bishop of Cleveland. Just prior to his transfer to Washington in 1980, Hickey attended the funeral of assassinated Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, and later became an outspoken critic of that country after two U.S. missionaries he commissioned were killed there.

During a gala 80th birthday party for Hickey in 2000, Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., who served as an auxiliary bishop under Hickey, said Hickey’s quiet nature belied his influence in the U.S. church.

“Cardinal Hickey is a man who, in a very quiet, persistent and most of the times behind-the-scenes way, has worked to build the church,” he told Religion News Service at the gala. “He was a quiet force in the church, certainly, but a very real one.”

Hickey’s funeral will be celebrated by McCarrick on Saturday (Oct. 30) at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. He will be buried in the archbishops’ crypt at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, also in Washington.

_ Kevin Eckstrom

Traveling Ten Commandments Draws Supporters and Protesters

WASHINGTON (RNS) A national tour of former Alabama judge Roy Moore’s granite monument to the Ten Commandments hit its first snag when atheist protesters confronted it on the National Mall on Friday (Oct. 22).

Until then, the 12-state, 64-town tour had been largely peaceful as people were allowed to read, touch and pose for pictures with the piece of granite from Alabama they had been reading about.

On Friday morning, though, there was a tense debate between a group of atheists from Pennsylvania and the Christians who came to pay their respects to the sculpture. The situation was initially defused by Native Americans in authentic dress who brokered a brief peace, but the U.S. Park Police eventually escorted the atheists to the other side of Madison Drive, where they held signs calling for the separation of church and state.

“We can stand here and make fun of your rock,” said Lorie Polansky of Altoona, Pa.

Jim Cabaniss of Texas, one of the organizers of the tour, was unfazed by the commotion. “Veterans fought for their right to do that,” said Cabaniss, whose group, American Veterans in Domestic Defense, contracted with Moore to take the monument across the country. “We don’t have any problem with it.”

The monument, hoisted out of a closet in the Alabama state judicial building in July and placed on the back of a 40-foot flatbed truck, attracted a steady stream of the curious, many of whom were on hand for a huge, unrelated prayer rally.

“To see it personally, I think it’s going to get a lot of people to wake up,” said Joanie Miller, 34, of Lusby, Md. “It’ll get you to start thinking `Where is your heart? Where is America’s heart?”’

John Hetherington rolled up on in-line skates, climbed the stairs on the back of the truck _ which was parked in front of the Museum of Natural History, behind a long line of portable bathrooms set up for the rally _ and filmed the monument up close. He’s working on a documentary about his life as a survivor of an attempted abortion.

“What struck me is that veterans risked their lives to keep this country and this world free and now they’re making a statement about what this country was founded on,” said Hetherington, a Canadian citizen.

Anita and Rick Moreau traveled from Newport, N.C., for an “America for Jesus” rally Friday (Oct. 22) but had heard the Ten Commandments monument would be on display.

“I’m just glad it’s out of the closet,” Anita Moreau said. “We’re way too close to the end times to play around.”

The Moreaus, who work for the Department of Defense, cautioned that the message _ not the monument _ should be the focus. If Moore had a chance to display the commandments in a way that would not be considered a state establishment of a religion, he should have considered it, Rick Moreau said.

“It’s not about that stone,” he said. “You can compromise your position without compromising your principle.”

Cabaniss had a box on the truck for collecting donations to keep the tour going _ a $1,500-a-week endeavor.

Hollis Summers of Maynardville, Tenn., had been with the monument all of its 14,000 miles and was this week’s truck driver.

“Judge Moore gave up a lot more than I will going on this tour,” Summers said. Moore lost his job as chief justice when he refused to obey a federal court order to remove the rock from the rotunda of the judicial building in Montgomery.

_ Mary Orndorff

Salvation Army Regains Top Position on List of Successful Charities

(RNS) The Salvation Army has returned to the top of the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of the nation’s 400 most successful fund-raising organizations, the newspaper reported.

The Christian charity dropped to the second position in the newspaper’s annual “Philanthropy 400” last year when it previously had always held the No. 1 slot.

Contributions to the nation’s top fund-raising groups increased by 2.3 percent in 2003. That increase was viewed as a sign of recovery from 2002, when organizations on the annual list saw a drop in contributions of 1.2 percent.

The other top 10 charities are as follows: 2. American Cancer Society. 3. Gifts in Kind International. 4. YMCA. 5. Lutheran Services in America. 6. AmeriCares Foundation. 7. Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund. 8. American National Red Cross. 9. Feed the Children. 10. Harvard University.

Of the 17 organizations that were labeled as “religious groups,” 10 were in the top 200: 23. Campus Crusade for Christ International. 46. Wesleyan Church. 98. Christian Broadcasting Network. 104. Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana (Trinity Broadcasting Network). 108. Young Life. 116. Focus on the Family. 120. Wycliffe Bible Translators. 132. National Christian Foundation. 170. Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. 180. The Navigators.

_ Adelle M. Banks

Quote of the day: Presidential Candidate John Kerry

“I know there are some bishops who have suggested that as a public official I must cast votes or take public positions _ on issues like a woman’s right to choose and stem cell research _ that carry out the tenets of the Catholic Church. I love my church. I respect the bishops. But I respectfully disagree.”

-Sen. John Kerry, Democratic presidential candidate, in an Oct. 24 speech in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

MO/JL END