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After grand jury report, Archbishop urges Ferguson, ‘Choose peace!’

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ST. LOUIS (CNS) — Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis urged residents of Ferguson, “Choose peace!” He made the comment in a statement Nov. 24 following the issuance of a grand jury decision to not indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, in the August shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, an African-American. “Reject any false and empty hope that violence will solve problems. Violence only creates more violence,” Archbishop Carlson said in his statement, released shortly after the grand jury announced its findings. “Let’s work for a better, stronger, more holy community — one founded upon respect for each other, respect for life and our shared responsibility for the common good.” Read more »

Pope Francis meets with Curia to discuss reform; names African cardinal head of worship office

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The same day he spent three hours meeting the heads of Vatican offices to discuss the reform of the Roman Curia, Pope Francis named 69-year-old Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah to be the new prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

Pope Francis named 69-year-old Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah to be the new prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis named 69-year-old Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah to be the new prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Cardinal Sarah, who had been president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Vatican’s charitable distribution and promotion office, since 2010, succeeds Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, who was named archbishop of Valencia, Spain, in August.

The Vatican announced Cardinal Sarah’s appointment Nov. 24 as the pope was meeting him and the other presidents of pontifical councils and prefects of Vatican congregations.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the meeting was one of the gatherings Pope Francis holds with the heads of Vatican offices every six months. However, in view of the planned reorganization of the Roman Curia, the meeting also was an opportunity to explain the ideas developed so far by Pope Francis’ nine-member Council of Cardinals.

“It was useful to have this meeting to collect opinions” before the Dec. 9-11 meeting of the council, which Pope Francis named to advise him on the Curia reform and on the governance of the church in general, Father Lombardi said.

The spokesman told reporters he understood that the process of making decisions and fine-tuning ideas about how to reorganize the Vatican offices “would continue for several months still. There is no sense that a new constitution is imminent.”

Cardinal Sarah takes up the reins at the worship congregation after four years spearheading retired Pope Benedict XVI’s attempts to ensure that Catholic aid and charitable activity include not only material assistance, but also spiritual care for the poor, refugees and victims of natural disasters.

He was appointed head of Cor Unum after nine years serving as secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which oversees and cares for Catholic dioceses and jurisdictions in missionary territories.

Cardinal Sarah came to the Vatican after serving for 21 years as archbishop of Conakry, Guinea. His time in the archdiocese included the last five years of the ruthless Marxist dictatorship of Ahmed Sekou Toure, who died in office in 1984. The then-Archbishop Sarah earned a reputation as one of the few voices courageous enough to defend freedom and promote human dignity.

In a 2012 speech to the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization, Cardinal Sarah insisted the Catholic Church is not a social service agency; its aim is always and everywhere to lead people to the God who is love, and that is done through concretely demonstrating that love.

While the church never ties its offers of help to promises of conversion, the cardinal said, many people have come to faith in Christ and joined the church because of the love they experienced through Catholic charity.

Missionary activity and charity, in the form of education, health care, sanitation, development aid and the defense of human rights, always have gone hand in hand, he told the synod.

At the 2009 special Synod of Bishops for Africa, then-Archbishop Sarah said, “Africa must protect itself from the contamination” of increasingly popular Western ideas about family life and sexuality.

“In African culture,” he said, “man is nothing without woman and woman is nothing without man. Both are nothing if the child isn’t the center of the family created by a man and a woman and the base of society.”

Attempts to redefine the family, to accept homosexual activity and to promote abortion as a right undermine the very fabric of stable societies, he said: “There is no peace, no justice, no stability in society without family, without cooperation between man and woman, without a father and without a mother.”

Born June 15, 1945, in Ourous, Guinea, he was educated in seminaries in the Ivory Coast and Guinea. He earned a licentiate degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and another licentiate in Scripture from the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in Jerusalem.

He was ordained to the priesthood in 1969 and served as rector of the minor seminary in Kindia, Guinea, as well as pastor at several local parishes. When he was consecrated a bishop at the age of 34 he was the youngest bishop in the world. He served as archbishop of Conakry from 1979 to 2001.

 

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Pope Francis, creating six new saints from India and Italy, uses revised rite

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Using a newly simplified rite, Pope Francis proclaimed six new saints and praised them for the love and self-giving with which they served God and built up his kingdom by serving the poor and needy.

Creating the two Indian and four Italian saints Nov. 23, the feast of Christ the King, the pope said, “They responded with extraordinary creativity to the commandment of love of God and neighbor,” dedicating themselves, “without holding back, to serving the least and assisting the destitute, sick, elderly and pilgrims.”

Pilgrims from India wait for the start of the canonization Mass of six new saints celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 24. The new saints are Euphrasia Eluvathingal, an Indian Carmelite sister and member of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church; Ludovico of Casoria, an Italian Franciscan priest who founded the Grey Franciscan Friars of Charity and the Grey Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth; Giovanni Antonio Farina, an Italian bishop of Vicenza and the founder of the Teaching Sisters of St. Dorothy; Kuriakose Elias Chavara, the Indian founder of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, a Syro-Malabar Catholic order; Nicholas of Longobardi, an Italian friar of the Minim order; and Amato Ronconi, a 13th-century Italian lay Franciscan and founder of a hospice for the poor, which is now a home for the elderly in Rimini, Italy. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pilgrims from India wait for the start of the canonization Mass of six new saints celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Nov. 24. The new saints are Euphrasia Eluvathingal, an Indian Carmelite sister and member of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church; Ludovico of Casoria, an Italian Franciscan priest who founded the Grey Franciscan Friars of Charity and the Grey Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth; Giovanni Antonio Farina, an Italian bishop of Vicenza and the founder of the Teaching Sisters of St. Dorothy; Kuriakose Elias Chavara, the Indian founder of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, a Syro-Malabar Catholic order; Nicholas of Longobardi, an Italian friar of the Minim order; and Amato Ronconi, a 13th-century Italian lay Franciscan and founder of a hospice for the poor, which is now a home for the elderly in Rimini, Italy. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The Mass in a St. Peter’s Square still damp from an early morning rain began with the canonizations using an even briefer formula than what had become standard with St. John Paul II. The formula had been expanded by now-retired Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.

The new rite did away with the three “petitions” used by Pope Benedict; the cardinal prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes would ask the pope three times to canonize candidates and the pope would respond by asking God to “sustain with his grace” the act of canonization and not allow the church to err in such an important matter. In response to the third petition, the pope would recite the formula for canonization.

Instead Nov. 22 Cardinal Angelo Amato, congregation prefect, requested Pope Francis canonize the six candidates and the pope responded by introducing a litany of the saints, praying that through their intercession God would “sustain with his grace the act which we now solemnly undertake.”

After singing the litany, Pope Francis read the canonization formula, proclaim the new saints:

• Kuriakose Elias Chavara, the Indian founder of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, a Syro-Malabar Catholic order. Born in 1805, he died in 1871.

• Euphrasia Eluvathingal, a member of the Carmelites founded by St. Chavara. She lived 1877-1952.

• Nicholas of Longobardi, an Italian friar of the Minim order, who lived 1650-1709.

• Giovanni Antonio Farina, an Italian bishop of Vicenza and the founder of the Teaching Sisters of St. Dorothy. He died in 1888.

• Ludovico of Casoria, the 19th-century Italian founder of the Grey Franciscan Friars of Charity and the Grey Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth.

• Amato Ronconi, a 13th-century Italian lay Franciscan and founder of a hospice for the poor, which is now a home for the elderly in Rimini, Italy. In his homily at the Mass,

Pope Francis focused on the feast of Christ the King and the description in the day’s first reading (Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17) of how God shepherds his people.

“These verses,” the pope said, “are interwoven with verbs which show the care and love that the shepherd has for his flock: to search, to look over, to gather the dispersed, to lead into pasture, to bring to rest, to seek the lost sheep, to lead back the confused, to bandage the wounded, to heal the sick, to take care of, to pasture.”

The Old Testament description is “fulfilled in Jesus Christ,” he said, and those who minister in Christ’s name — the pope, the bishops and priests — must follow his example “if do not want to become hirelings. In this regard the People of God have an unerring sense for recognizing good shepherds and in distinguishing them from hirelings.”

Thousands of Catholics from India, especially from Kerala, traveled to the Vatican to celebrate St. Chavara and St. Eluvathingal. Meeting the pilgrims briefly Nov. 24, Pope Francis said the two Indians “remind each of us that God’s love is the source and the goal and the support of all holiness, while love of neighbor is the clearest demonstration of love for the Lord.”

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Pray to play: Pope Francis starts a raffle for the poor, buy a chance for a ‘fully loaded’ Fiat

November 21st, 2014 Posted in Featured, Vatican News Tags: , , ,

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY —Like many Catholic parishes, the Vatican has turned to a raffle to raise money; the difference is, though, the prizes are items originally given as gifts to Pope Francis.

An employee of the Vatican Post Office shows a ticket of the pope's raffle at the Vatican Nov. 21. Pope Francis is raffling off objects he has received as gifts in order to raise money for the poor. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

An employee of the Vatican Post Office shows a ticket of the pope’s raffle at the Vatican Nov. 21. Pope Francis is raffling off objects he has received as gifts in order to raise money for the poor. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

For 10 euros, about $12.50, anyone can go to the Vatican post office or pharmacy and buy a chance to win a Fiat Panda 4×4, a small SUV “fully loaded” with every option available, the Vatican said. Tickets are not for sale on the Internet or anywhere outside Vatican City.

The raffle is being run by the Vatican City State governor’s office, and proceeds will be placed directly “at the disposition of the pope himself,” said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.

First prize is the Fiat. The other main prizes include: a blue racing bike, an “orange bicycle with baskets,” a tandem bike, a small HD digital video camera, an espresso machine, a silver pen, a brown leather briefcase and an authentic Panama hat.

The tickets also say there will be “more than 30 consolation prizes.”

In the small print, it specifies that the winner of the Fiat will have to pay Italian value-added tax and automobile registration fees.

The winning tickets will be drawn Jan. 8, and the names of the winners will be published on the governor’s office website: www.vaticanstate.va. Winners will have 30 days to collect their prizes.

The raffle, Father Lombardi said, is “a response to Pope Francis’ appeal for new forms of solidarity with our neediest brothers and sisters, particularly with the approach of Christmas.”

 

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Millions could benefit from Obama’s new immigration policies

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Catholic News Service

HYATTSVILLE, Md. — The meeting room in the middle of Maryland’s most immigrant-dense ZIP code Nov. 20 was full of people who epitomize the problems President Barack Obama is trying to address with executive action.

A woman at CASA de Maryland's Multicultural Center in Hyattsville, Md., applauds Nov. 20 after hearing President Barack Obama's national address on immigration. The president extended deferral of deportations to parents of millions of U.S. citizens and legal residents. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

A woman at CASA de Maryland’s Multicultural Center in Hyattsville, Md., applauds Nov. 20 after hearing President Barack Obama’s national address on immigration. The president extended deferral of deportations to parents of millions of U.S. citizens and legal residents. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

Families with roots in Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala — some with U.S. citizen children, some with one adult child who has legal permanent residency (a green card), and other adults who are in the country illegally — all watched the big screen as Obama announced his plans for allowing perhaps 40 percent of the 11 million people without legal immigration status to be temporarily protected from deportation.

The package of administrative actions, explained in more detail starting with an Obama appearance Nov. 21 in Nevada, includes reprioritizing who the government will target for deportation, cracking down primarily on dangerous criminals and new arrivals at the border.

“We’re going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security,” Obama said in his televised address from the White House. “Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids. We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day.”

Another component will change the approach in granting visas to foreign students in science and technology who want to remain in the U.S. after graduation, according to the White House.

The Justice Department also will change the Secure Communities program, under which local law enforcement agencies did immigration screening on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, leading to circumstances like what a senior administration official described as a “broken taillight arrest.”

In a background telephone briefing before the president’s announcement, the official said, “An arrest for a broken taillight alone is not going to trigger ICE pickup.”

That’s the sort of thing that Carlos Velasquez said is so helpful about the president’s actions.

Velasquez, attending the Hyattsville viewing party with other members of St. Camillus Church in nearby Silver Spring, where he is active in a variety of ministries, said he knows many, many families who will potentially benefit from the extension of deferred action to new segments of the population.

So happy the words tumbled out in a giddy mixture of English and Spanish, he said, “They’re going to be safe. Some people get to be no longer afraid they will be arrested and deported for just walking down the street or driving or going to work.”

The simple step of having a Social Security number will make it possible for some of his friends to finally buy homes, Velasquez said. They have the financial resources and pay taxes using an identification number from the Internal Revenue Service, he explained, but lacking a Social Security number is an obstacle to obtaining a mortgage.

Obama’s orders basically would expand upon the 2-year-old program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Immigrants, or DACA. Through it, more than half a million young adults and teens who came to the U.S. as minors have been promised they won’t be deported if they stay out of trouble.

In exchange for registering with the government, going through background checks and other requirements and paying fees, they received work permits and Social Security numbers. More than 600,000 people have applied for the program launched in summer 2012. Of that, 27,000 applications were rejected (and could perhaps be resubmitted) and about 16,000 have been denied. Others are in various stages of the approval process.

The new program would offer the same deal to parents of U.S. citizens or green card holders who have lived in here for at least five years, a potential pool of more than 4 million people, according to the White House. Both the parents-of-citizens program and DACA will now be good for three years, and renewable.

The program is expected to be up and running in the spring.

The administration officials said they estimate about 270,000 additional people will be eligible for DACA under new rules that drop the previous age limit of under-30 and roll forward the date by which applicants need to have arrived in the U.S. to 2010 from the original date of 2007.

Though the audience at the offices of CASA de Maryland, a community organizing service, was quiet throughout the 15-minute address, broadcast with simultaneous Spanish translation on Telemundo, the moments leading up to the president’s appearance were filled with cheerful chanting and applause as residents of the neighborhood stood to tell their stories.

“Si, se pudo!” they chanted, or “yes, we could,” or maybe “yes, he could.” That’s the past tense of the “si, se puede” or “yes, we can,” that has long been popular in rallying migrants to various causes.

Among those who were quick to applaud the president’s plans were, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Seattle Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration.

“We welcome any efforts … that protect individuals and protect and reunite families and vulnerable children,” said Bishop Elizondo in a statement from the USCCB.

Archbishop Kurtz quoted Pope Francis in saying every human being bears the image of Christ. “We ourselves need to see, and then to enable others to see, that migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved.”

The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, known as CLINIC, also welcomed the package of executive actions, including plans to make it easier for immigrants who lack legal status to travel to their home countries without penalty.

Jeanne M. Atkinson, executive director CLINIC, said, “however, administrative relief is no substitute for legislative reform. We need a permanent fix to the immigration system that can only be achieved through bipartisan Congressional action.”

She added that the network has been gearing up to meet the need for legal advice the deferred action program will trigger. “We will be ready.”

 

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Sainthood cause for a native of the Eastern Shore endorsed by U.S. bishops

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Catholic News Service

Two years ago, the U.S. bishops endorsed the sainthood cause of Dorothy Day, who was born an Episcopalian but later became a Catholic and co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement that still flourishes today.

Father Paul Wattson, who co-founded the Society of the Atonement in Graymoor, N.Y., is pictured in an undated photo. The U.S. bishops Nov. 11 endorsed the sainthood cause of the onetime Episcopal priest who joined the Catholic Church more than a century ago along with the members of the Society of the Atonement. The bishops' support for his cause came on the second day of their annual fall general assembly in Baltimore. (CNS photo/courtesy Society of the Atonement, Graymoor)

Father Paul Wattson, who co-founded the Society of the Atonement in Graymoor, N.Y., is pictured in an undated photo. The U.S. bishops Nov. 11 endorsed the sainthood cause of the onetime Episcopal priest who joined the Catholic Church more than a century ago along with the members of the Society of the Atonement. The bishops’ support for his cause came on the second day of their annual fall general assembly in Baltimore. (CNS photo/courtesy Society of the Atonement, Graymoor)

This year, the bishops endorsed the cause of another former Episcopalian: Father Paul Wattson, who was ordained an Anglican priest but became a Catholic and whose legacy includes the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, observed each January.

Support for his cause came on a voice vote Nov. 11, the second day of the bishops’ annual fall general assembly in Baltimore.

Father Wattson was born Lewis Thomas Wattson on January 16, 1863, in Millington, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, now in the Diocese of Wilmington. His parents were Rev. Joseph Wattson and his wife Mary Electa Wattson.

Eleven years after he was ordained an Episcopal priest, Rev. Paul Wattson was in ministry in Omaha, Nebraska, in the spring of 1897 when he received a letter from a novice in an Episcopal convent in Albany, N.Y.

Lurana White, though, was not content at her convent. In the letter, she expressed her frustration in finding a religious community whose members publicly professed the vow of poverty and lived according to the Franciscan tradition. Rev. Wattson knew of no such community, but he responded to White his vision of establishing a religious community of his own.

Rev. Wattson and White, through their correspondence, concluded they shared a similar dream. When they met face to face in October 1898, they established the Society of the Atonement, with separate orders for men and for women: the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement.

The society’s members would live according to the Franciscan tradition, and have as its charism the promotion of Christian unity and mission.

White, who by this time was home in Warwick, N.Y., suggested as a home base for the society a relatively secluded spot in present-day Garrison, N.Y., that some people called Graymoor. Before the winter set in, White had settled into an old farmhouse on the land; there was also a small chapel on the property called St.-John’s-in-the-Wilderness.

Rev. Wattson lived in an old painted shack on the land, which he called the “Palace of Lady Poverty.”

They decided early on to take as their cause convincing Episcopalians to join the Catholic Church. This did not sit too well with the Episcopalians and Anglicans they knew. Rev. Wattson, who took the religious name Paul, found pulpits closed to him and donations drying up.

White, now known as Sister Lurana and later Mother Lurana, would take her fellow sisters with her to New York City to beg at subway turnstiles.

Things came to a head following a 1907 decision at the Episcopal Church’s convention to permit other Christian preachers to speak at Episcopal pulpits with the approval of the local bishop. Seeing how much more closely linked Anglicans were to Catholics than to other Christian denominations, Rev. Wattson and Mother Lurana decide to leave the Episcopal Church and become Catholics themselves.

In October 1909, they and a few companions were received into the Roman Catholic Church. It is believed to be the first time since the days of the Reformation the members of an entire religious community had become Roman Catholics on a corporate, rather than individual basis. Father Wattson was ordained a Catholic priest in 1910.

At first, they were as unpopular within the Catholic Church as they had been in the Episcopal Church. Many Catholics thought them to be “secret Protestants,” a label that took several years for them to overcome.

Father Wattson “really did reach out to people of other denominations at a time when it was not popular,” said Sister Nancy Conboy, who is minister general of the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement.

“I think his emphasis on Christian reconciliation and ecumenism in this day in age when there is so much so division could be a real catalyst for helping people to say we can we talk about what we have in common,” she told Catholic News Service in a phone interview in early November.

Despite suspicions about their ministry, Father Wattson and Mother Lurana’s projects took on new impetus.

The Lamp, a magazine devoted to Christian unity and mission, was published monthly for a much wider audience. The Union-That-Nothing-Be Lost, an organization which aided missionaries, grew larger and more enthusiastic. St. Christopher’s Inn, an expression of the Society of the Atonement’s commitment to Franciscan ideals, continued to receive thousands of homeless, needy men each year, providing them with hospitality in the spirit of St. Francis.

Father Wattson married a theological perspective with “very practical things,” said Father Jim Gardiner. A Franciscan Friar of the Atonement for more than 54 years, he oversees special projects at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington.

On one hand, Father Wattson very much wanted to see the “reunion of Rome and Canterbury,” the Anglican Church, Father Gardiner said, and at the same time he cared for wayfarers with St. Christopher’s Inn, emphasized the role of prayer and “took the Gospel very seriously.”

Father Wattson also co-founded the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, and among other things organized Graymoor Press and the “Ave Maria Hour” on radio.

In 1903, Father Wattson started the annual Church Unity Octave, now known as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It is observed from Jan. 18, the feast of St. Peter’s Chair in Rome, to Jan. 25, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.

Father Wattson wanted Christians to understand Christian unity as a realistic goal for churches and not some pie-in-the-sky dream. The Society for the Atonement now publishes a monthly journal called Ecumenical Trends, which collects speeches and documents written by ecumenists and interreligious figures worldwide.

Both the men’s and women’s branches of the society continued to grow through the Jazz Age and the Great Depression. Mother Lurana died in 1935, and Father Wattson in 1940.

 

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Pope condemns attack on Jerusalem synagogue that killed four worshippers, policeman

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis condemned the “unacceptable episodes of violence” in Jerusalem, episodes that “do not spare even places of worship,” after an attack in a synagogue left four worshippers, a policeman and the two attackers dead.

At the end of his general audience Nov. 19, the day after the attack on the synagogue, Pope Francis said he was following “with concern the alarming increase of tensions in Jerusalem and other areas of the Holy Land.”

Jewish worshippers covered in prayer shawls pray Nov. 19 at a synagogue in Jerusalem where two Palestinian militants killed four rabbis and a policeman. Pope Francis condemned the “unacceptable episodes of violence” in Jerusalem, episodes that “do not spare even places of worship.”  (CNS photo/Ronen Zvulun, Reuters)

Jewish worshippers covered in prayer shawls pray Nov. 19 at a synagogue in Jerusalem where two Palestinian militants killed four rabbis and a policeman. Pope Francis condemned the “unacceptable episodes of violence” in Jerusalem, episodes that “do not spare even places of worship.” (CNS photo/Ronen Zvulun, Reuters)

The pope offered prayers for the victims of the attack carried out by two Palestinian cousins from East Jerusalem and for all those suffering the consequences of the attack.

“From the depths of my heart,” he said, “I appeal to those involved to put an end to the spiral of hatred and violence and make courageous decisions in favor of reconciliation and peace.”

“Making peace is difficult,” he said, “but living without peace is a torment.”

Shortly after the early morning synagogue attack, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem called for an end to all violence in the Holy Land.

“We are praying and waiting. We are sad,” said Patriarch Twal. “We must, all people of responsibility, politicians and religious leaders, do our best in our positions to condemn this violence and avoid as much as possible the causes which lead other people to violence.”

The attack occurred in the Har Nof neighborhood of West Jerusalem, which is popular with the Anglo-Orthodox Jewish community. Three of the dead worshippers had dual Israeli-American citizenship; one had Israeli-British citizenship.

The two perpetrators of the attacks were killed at the scene by Israeli police.

“Violence leads to more violence,” Patriarch Twal told Catholic News Service. He said he sent condolences to the families of all the victims of the recent wave of violence that has rocked Jerusalem as Israel moves toward expanding Jewish settlements in the area and Palestinians fear a Jewish presence on the shared holy site of the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, in Jerusalem’s Old City.

According to a tenuous and contested status quo agreement, Jews are allowed to visit the site where, according to Jewish tradition, the Biblical Jewish temple stood and, but they are not allowed to pray there. According to Muslim tradition, it is the site where Muhammad ascended into heaven.

A day prior to the synagogue attack, a Palestinian bus driver who worked for an Israeli cooperative was found hanged in his bus at the terminal. Israeli police called the death a suicide after a medical investigation, but the man’s family and the Palestinian media maintain that it was a lynching. Some have said the synagogue killings were in retaliation for his death.

“You can’t occupy and then think people (will be quiet),” Patriarch Twal said, referring to Israel occupation of Palestinian lands. “We are against any kind of violence either from a state group or private groups.”

“We are in a very bad situation and condemn the violence and assure the families who have lost loved ones of our prayers,” he added. “It is very sad.”

The Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land expressed “shock and horror” at the attack, calling it “horrendous.”

“Such murderous deeds, especially in a house of worship, are the ultimate abuse of religion,” said a statement from the council, which represents Israel’s chief rabbinate, the Palestinian Authority Shariah courts, and local Christian leaders. “We call on all religious political and civic leaders to do their utmost to prevent the local political conflict from being turned into a religious war, the consequences of which will be disastrous for all.”

The Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, World Council of Churches general secretary, expressed concern and sadness over the attack.

“There is a particular horror in any such attack which takes place at a place of worship. I condemn this violence unequivocally, as I do all violence between the peoples and communities of this region which has seen so much bloodshed in the name of religion,” he said. “Violence, collective punishments and communal attacks can only further damage the prospects of peace and justice for all.’

Israelis were shocked by the attack on the worshippers, killed as they took part in the daily morning prayers at the popular neighborhood synagogue.

In past weeks, the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif has been sight of bloody confrontations between Israeli police and Palestinians, and synagogues and mosques have been vandalized.

Over recent weeks, several Palestinians have been killed and injured in demonstrations in East Jerusalem, and several Israelis been killed and injured in attacks by Palestinians in the Jerusalem area and Tel Aviv.

Patriarch Twal said Jerusalem is a city of peace, not violence.

He said the recent attacks have shown that the walls built as a security barrier to separate the West Bank do not protect anyone from violence as long as there is occupation and injustice.

“There is no protection with walls. Only dignity and justice for all (will bring security,)” he said. “All this violence took place within the walls. We need more justice and comprehension.”

Patriarch Twal noted that Christians in the Holy Land were preparing to celebrate Christmas and expressed concern that pilgrims would be afraid to come because of the violence.

‘We hope that by Christmastime there will be no more revenge and no more killings,” he said. He asked for prayers for the peace of Jerusalem, the Holy Land and all its inhabitants, so Jerusalem could return to its vocation as the city of peace.

Contributing to this story was Judith Sudilovsky in Jerusalem.

 

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Jesus invites all to risk ‘being more,’ says new Chicago archbishop

November 19th, 2014 Posted in Featured, National News

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CHICAGO — At his installation as the ninth archbishop of Chicago Nov. 18, Archbishop Blase J. Cupich urged the congregation at Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral to fearlessly share their faith recognizing that God calls them “to more” and “to greater things.”

Before an overflow crowd, the archbishop said he had “a bit of a panic attack” when he saw the day’s Gospel reading was about Jesus walking on water and calling his disciples to follow him.

Archbishop Blase J. Cupich walks down center aisle of Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago at the start of his installation Mass Nov. 18. Pope Francis named Archbishop Cupich in September by Pope Francis to succeed Cardinal Francis E. George as Chicago's archbishop. (CNS photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, Reuters)

Archbishop Blase J. Cupich walks down center aisle of Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago at the start of his installation Mass Nov. 18. Pope Francis named Archbishop Cupich in September by Pope Francis to succeed Cardinal Francis E. George as Chicago’s archbishop. (CNS photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, Reuters)

“I realize this new responsibility is going to be demanding,” he said, “but seriously folks, I don’t do ‘walking on water.’ I can barely swim. So I hope this image in today’s Gospel is not reflective of anyone’s expectations.”

The archbishop, who succeeds Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George, said the passage asks believers to “join Christ in seeking out, inviting and accompanying, by abiding with those to whom he sends us.”

In particular, he said Catholics today face the “formidable task of passing on the faith to the next generation, of evangelizing a modern and sometimes skeptical culture, not to mention inspiring young people to serve the church as priests and religious.” That challenge, he said, “all seems so daunting, as daunting as walking on water.”

Archbishop Cupich noted that catechists and educators are “on the front line of this struggle,” along with parents, grandparents, bishops and priests who can “find that the good news is increasingly difficult to proclaim in the midst of great polarization in church and society.”

In moving forward, he said Catholics need to go back to where their journey of faith began, at their baptism, and be “willing to share it with the next generation.”

“Young people have always been attracted to authenticity of life, where words match deeds. Let’s not be afraid to let our young people know about our life with God and how it began,” he said.

He stressed that such authenticity would similarly be demanded of him as archbishop “particularly as I reach out to those who have been sexually abused by church leaders.”

“That starting point will always be needed for me and my brother bishops to keep fresh the serious duty to honor and keep the promises we made in 2002,” he said, referring to the year the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops developed the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.

“Working together to protect children, to bring healing to victim survivors and to rebuild the trust that has been shattered in our communities by our mishandling is our sacred duty, as is holding each other accountable, for that is what we pledge to do,” the archbishop added.

He told the congregation that Jesus invites them to “take the risk of leaving our comfort zone, but also to deal with the tension involved in change, not dismissively but in a creative way, and to challenge each other to do so.”

Some examples he stated included: going to Mass more than once a week and changing habitual bad behaviors, unhealthy dependencies or inordinate attachments.

He said Pope Francis has similarly urged Catholics to “walk with Christ, as he is always doing something new.”

“It is an invitation to leave behind the comfort of going the familiar way. He is challenging us to recognize that Christ is always inviting us to more, to greater things. It is the kind of invitation our bishops’ conference is making to our nation to be what it has always promised to be, to protect the vulnerable, poor and weak, to treat immigrants with justice and dignity, to respect life and to be good stewards of creation.”

The archbishop said it is “the invitation of Jesus: ‘Come, take the risk of being more.’”

 

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Pope Francis defends traditional marriage as a matter of ‘human ecology’

November 17th, 2014 Posted in Featured, Vatican News Tags: , ,

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis called for preserving the family as an institution based on marriage between a man and a woman, which he said is not a political cause but a matter of “human ecology.”

Newly married couples Marco Purcaro and Laura Capurso, center, and Fiorenzo Genito and Lidia Tortora, right, react after exchanging vows as Pope Francis celebrates the marriage rite for 20 couples during a Mass last September in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Sept. 14. At left is Flaviano Picchi and Giulia Capozi, who are preparing to exchange vows. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Newly married couples Marco Purcaro and Laura Capurso, center, and Fiorenzo Genito and Lidia Tortora, right, react after exchanging vows as Pope Francis celebrates the marriage rite for 20 couples during a Mass last September in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Sept. 14. At left is Flaviano Picchi and Giulia Capozi, who are preparing to exchange vows. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“The complementarity of man and woman … is at the root of marriage and the family,” the pope said Nov. 17, opening a three-day interreligious conference on traditional marriage. “Children have the right to grow up in a family with a father and mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity.”

Pope Francis said that “marriage and the family are in crisis. We now live in a culture of the temporary, in which more and more people are simply giving up on marriage as a public commitment. The revolution in mores and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.”

According to the pope, the “crisis in the family has produced an ecological crisis, for social environments, like natural environments, need protection. And although the human race has come to understand the need to address conditions that menace our natural environments, we have been slower — we have been slower in our culture, and also in our Catholic culture — to recognize that our fragile social environments are also at risk. It is therefore essential that we foster a new human ecology.”

Pope Francis voiced hope that young people would be “revolutionaries with the courage to seek true and lasting love, going against the current.” But he also warned against falling into the “trap of being swayed by ideological concepts.”

“We cannot speak today of the conservative family or the progressive family,” he said. “The family is the family.”

The pope also stressed that the complementarity between male and female does not necessarily entail stereotypical gender roles.

“Let us not confuse (complementarity) with the simplistic idea that all the roles and relations of the two sexes are fixed in a single, static pattern,” he said. “Complementarity will take many forms as each man and woman brings his or her distinctive contributions to their marriage and to the education of their children.”

Pope Francis said Christians find the meaning of complementarity in St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, “where the apostle tells us that the Spirit has endowed each of us with different gifts so that — just as the human body’s members work together for the good of the whole — everyone’s gifts can work together for the benefit of each.”

“To reflect upon complementarity is nothing less than to ponder the dynamic harmonies at the heart of all creation,” the pope said.

 

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Pope Francis confirms he will visit Philadelphia next September

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said he would attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September, making it the first confirmed stop on what is expected to be a more extensive papal visit to North America.

The pope made the announcement Nov. 17 in a speech opening an interreligious conference on traditional marriage.

Pope Francis (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis (CNS/Paul Haring)

“I would like to confirm that, God willing, in September 2015 I will go to Philadelphia for the eighth World Meeting of Families,” the pope said.

The announcement had been widely expected, since Pope Benedict XVI had said before his retirement that he hoped to attend the Philadelphia event. Popes typically fulfill their predecessors’ publicly known travel plans, as Pope Francis did in July 2013 when he attended World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who was in Rome for the families meeting, told Catholic News Service the announcement was “a surprise in the sense that it was announced so early; you know usually they don’t make these announcements — four months out is the typical and here we are 10 months away, and the Holy Father said he is coming to Philadelphia.”

“The Holy Father has said that he’s going to be coming to Philadelphia for quite a few months,” he told Catholic News Service. “He’s been telling me that personally, but for him to announce it officially that he is coming so early is really quite an unusual thing, so it’s going to re-energize our efforts. There’s lot of enthusiasm already, but I think 90 percent of the enthusiasm’s based on the fact that the Holy Father will be with us, and now that he’s said that I expect that there will be even a double amount of enthusiasm … and I’m very happy about that.”

Catholicphilly.com reported the archbishop noted that Pope Francis has focused “on the many challenges that families face today globally. His charisma, presence and voice will electrify the gathering.’

“As I’ve said many times before, I believe that the presence of the Holy Father will bring all of us, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, together in tremendously powerful, unifying and healing ways. We look forward to Pope Francis’ arrival in Philadelphia next September, and we will welcome him joyfully with open arms and prayerful hearts.”

In August, Pope Francis told reporters accompanying him on the plane back from South Korea that he “would like” to go to Philadelphia. The pope also noted that President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress had invited him to Washington, D.C., and that the secretary-general of the United Nations had invited him to New York.

“Maybe the three cities together, no?” Pope Francis said, adding that he could also visit the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico on the same trip, “but it is not certain.”

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Nov. 17 that Pope Francis wanted to “guarantee organizers” that he would be present at the meeting in Philadelphia, “but he did not say anything about other possible stops or events during that trip. And for now I do not have anything to add in that regard.”

Although few details of the papal visit have made public, organizers for the families’ congress expect Pope Francis to arrive Sept. 25 for an afternoon public visit with civic officials.

That would begin his first trip as pope to the United States and the second papal visit to Philadelphia in a generation; St. John Paul II visited the city in 1979. Francis will be the fourth sitting pope to visit the U.S.

During his visit, Pope Francis is expected to attend the Festival of Families Sept. 26, a cultural celebration for hundreds of thousands of people along Philadelphia’s main cultural boulevard, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Donna Farrell, executive director for the 2015 World Meeting of Families and its chief planner, said although Philadelphia has hosted St. John Paul’s visit, the city has “not had anything like this unique Festival of Families. It’s really going to be something special.”

Registration for the congress opened in mid-November. The meeting will be a weeklong series of talks, discussions and activities.

Pope Francis is expected to celebrate a public Mass for an estimated 1 million people on Sept. 26 on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in full view of the crowds arrayed from the museum down the Ben Franklin Parkway.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, welcomed the pope’s announcement.

“The presence of Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families in our country will be a joyful moment for millions of Catholics and people of good will. Our great hope has been that the Holy Father would visit us next year to inspire our families in their mission of love. It is a blessing to hear the pope himself announce the much anticipated news,” Archbishop Kurtz said.

 

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