Originally created 01/04/03

Across the Southeast



Pope OKs resignation of Mississippi bishop

JACKSON, Miss. -The Catholic Diocese of Jackson is changing leaders while it deals with two lawsuits claiming it did nothing to stop sexual abuse by priests.

Bishop William Houck sent a letter of resignation to the pope when he turned 75 in June 2001, as required by the Vatican. Pope John Paul II accepted the resignation Friday.

"My resignation is basically because it is the discipline of the church that a bishop must submit his resignation at age 75. It is not effective until it is accepted by the pope. And that has happened today," said Bishop Houck, who is now 76.

He has led the diocese made up of 65 counties and about 45,000 Catholics in central and north Mississippi since 1984. In area, the diocese is the largest east of the Mississippi River.

Returning Lott will lead Senate Rules Committee

JACKSON, Miss. -Pushed from his position as Republican leader, Trent Lott will take over the Senate Rules Committee when he returns to Washington next week, feeling no "vengeance" against senators who called for his removal.

Instead of being leader, the Mississippi senator will become the Rules chairman and hold seats on the Finance, Commerce and Intelligence committees. Mr. Lott sat on all of those committees last year except Intelligence, but he did not serve as chairman because of his leadership role.

"I have the experience and the background to be very much a player," Mr. Lott said.

Two senators don gray for Civil War movie

RICHMOND, Va. -Two U.S. senators and one who recently retired have a few seconds of face time as Confederate officers in a Civil War movie that opens next month.

Sen. George Allen, R-Va., Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., and former Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, are cast as Rebel brass in Gods and Generals.

The book is set amid the battles of Fredericksburg and the Wilderness campaign and focuses on Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and Union commanders Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and Winfield Scott Hancock. Robert Duvall plays Lee, and Jeff Daniels is Chamberlain.

The senators are largely unrecognizable in period costume and makeup. Mr. Allen is even wearing a fake mustache, said Carrie Cantrell, his spokeswoman.