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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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Church must shine God’s light, guard against vanity, pope says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The church must learn from the mistakes of its past and guard against seeking “to shine its own light” rather than the light of God, said Pope Francis at morning Mass.

In the church’s history, it has either been “tempted by vanity” or has worked to be “a poor church, whose only wealth is the bridegroom,” Jesus, he said Nov. 24 in his homily during the Mass in Casa Santa Marta where he lives.

The pope said the poor widow in the day’s Gospel reading (Lk 21:1-4) points to how the church must be in the world.

“This widow was not important. Her name did not appear in newspapers. No one knew her. She did not have any degrees. Nothing. She did not shine her own light,” he said, according to Vatican Radio.

And, just as the widow did not shine her own light, he said, “the great virtue of the church must not be to shine its own light but to shine the light … that comes from the Bridegroom.”

History has shown that “when the church wanted to have its own light, it was mistaken,” he said. When God wants to grant the church light, it must be received with humility, he said. All the service performed in the church must be directed at helping the church receive and act by the light of God, he added.

Service performed without this light “is not good,” the pope said. “It leads the church to become either rich or powerful or to seek power or take the wrong path, as has happened many times in history and as happens in our lives when we want to have another light that is not the Lord’s: our own light.”

Instead, the church must be like the poor widow in the Gospel, who waits in hope for the light of the Bridegroom.

“When the church is humble, when the church is poor, even when the church admits its poverty, which we all have, the church is faithful,” he said. It does the church “much good” to admit that it is “in the dark” and that “the light comes from (God),” he continued.

The pope concluded his homilies by urging prayers to the poor widow, “who is surely in heaven,” to teach the church and its faithful to keep “nothing for us,” so that “all is for the Lord and for neighbor, without priding ourselves on our own light but seeking always the light that comes from the Lord.”

 

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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: , , ,

By

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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Little acts of love, kindness and faith add up to holiness, pope says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — All Christians are called to holiness and to take even little steps each day to be more loving and more Christ-like, Pope Francis said.

“Some think that holiness is closing your eyes and making the face of a plastic statue, but that’s not holiness,” the pope said Nov. 19 at his weekly general audience.

Members of the board of governors of the Anglican Center in Rome attend Pope Francis' general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Members of the board of governors of the Anglican Center in Rome attend Pope Francis’ general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Nov. 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Holiness is something much greater, much more profound than looking like an image on a holy card, he said. “It is living with love and offering your own Christian witness in your daily tasks.”

Pope Francis said “a great gift” of the Second Vatican Council was the recovery of the notion of “the church as communion,” a community formed by people who “have equal dignity and have the same vocation to holiness” by virtue of their baptism.

“To be saints, one does not necessarily have to be a bishop, priest or religious, no,” he said. “We are all called to become saints.”

“Many times we are tempted to think that holiness is reserved only for those who have the possibility of detaching themselves from ordinary concerns so they can dedicate themselves exclusively to prayer,” he said. “But that’s not true.”

Holiness, the pope said, is a gift God offers to everyone and a response to his grace. It is the result of hundreds of little steps and gestures each day. And they will be different for each person depending on the circumstances of one’s life.

Consecrated men and women become saints by living their vows with joy, he said. Married people become saints by loving and taking care of their husband or wife. Single Catholics become saints “doing their work with honesty and competence, and offering their time to serve their brothers and sisters.”

In a factory or an office, in the marketplace or in the home, he said, God communicates with the faithful and gives them the grace to be holy.

Parents and grandparents are taking a step toward holiness when they patiently listen to their children or grandchildren and when they enthusiastically teach them “to know and follow Jesus,” the pope said. “Holiness comes through the exercise of patience” with children, especially when you are tired, he added.

People who do volunteer work take a step toward holiness every time they demonstrate God’s love for and closeness to someone who is suffering, he said.

“On Sundays, going to Mass and receiving Communion, sometimes adding a good confession that cleans us up a bit, that is a step toward holiness,” the pope said.

“Be bearers of holiness. Always, in your home, on the streets, at work and in church,” he told the estimated 13,000 people at the audience. “Don’t be discouraged in following this path. God himself will give you grace.”

Pope Francis asked those at the audience to do a brief examination of conscience, asking themselves how well they respond to their vocation to holiness.

“When the Lord invites us to be holy,” the pope said, “he is not calling us to something heavy or sad, but the complete opposite: It’s an invitation to live and share his joy in every moment of our lives.”

The text of the pope’s audience remarks in English is available online at www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/audiences/2014/documents/papa-francesco_20141119_udienza-generale_en.html.

The text of the pope’s audience remarks in Spanish is available online at www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/audiences/2014/documents/papa-francesco_20141119_udienza-generale_sp.html.

 

 

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Pope warns doctors against ‘false compassion’ that would justify abortion, euthanasia

November 19th, 2014 Posted in Vatican News

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis denounced a “false compassion” that would justify abortion, euthanasia, artificial reproduction technologies and medical research violating human dignity. And he urged medical doctors to “go against the current” and assert “conscientious objection” to such practices, which he called sins “against God the creator.”

The pope made his remarks Nov. 15 in a meeting with members of the Association of Italian Catholic Medical Doctors.

“The dominant thinking sometimes suggests a false compassion, that which believes it is helpful to women to promote abortion; an act of dignity to provide euthanasia; a scientific breakthrough to produce a child and consider it to be a right, rather than a gift to welcome; or to use human lives as guinea pigs, presumably to save others,” Pope Francis said.

“We are living in a time of experimentation with life. But a bad experiment. Making children rather than accepting them as a gift, as I said. Playing with life. Be careful, because this is a sin against the Creator: against God the creator, who created things this way,” the pope said.

Catholic moral teaching forbids abortion, euthanasia, the use artificial reproduction technologies such as in-vitro fertilization and research that involves the destruction of human embryos.

“Fidelity to the Gospel of life and respect for life as a gift from God sometimes require choices that are courageous and go against the current, which in particular circumstances, may become points of conscientious objection,” Pope Francis said.

The pope said the church opposes abortion and euthanasia not only as a matter of faith or philosophical principle but as a question of science.

“It is a scientific problem, because there is a human life there, and it is not lawful to do away with a human life to solve a problem,” he said. “In ancient and modern thought, the word ‘kill’ means the same thing.”

The pope urged doctors to practice true compassion as “good Samaritans, caring in a special way for the elderly, the infirm and the disabled.”

“There is no human life that is more sacred than another,” he said, “just as there is no human life qualitatively more significant than another just by virtue of having greater resources, rights and economic and social opportunities.”

 

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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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Vatican lifts ban on married priests for Eastern Catholics outside traditional territories, including United States

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VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has lifted its ban on the ordination of married men to the priesthood in Eastern Catholic churches outside their traditional territories, including in the United States, Canada and Australia.

Pope Francis approved lifting the ban, also doing away with the provision that, in exceptional cases, Eastern Catholic bishops in the diaspora could receive Vatican approval to ordain married men. In recent years, however, some Eastern Catholic bishops went ahead with such ordinations discreetly without Vatican approval.

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, signed the decree June 14. It was published later online in the “Acta Apostolicae Sedis,” the official periodical through which Vatican laws and decisions are published.

The new law says the pope concedes to Eastern Catholic bishops outside their traditional territory the faculties to “allow pastoral service of Eastern married clergy” and “to ordain Eastern married candidates” in their eparchies or dioceses, although they must inform the local Latin-rite bishop in writing “in order to have his opinion and any relevant information.”

“We are overjoyed with the lifting of the ban,” Melkite Bishop Nicholas Samra of Newton, Mass., told Catholic News Service in a Nov. 15 email.

The Vatican decree explained that in response to the “protests” of the Latin-rite bishops in the United States, in 1890 the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples prohibited married Ruthenian priests from living in the United States. And in 1929-30, the Congregation for Eastern Churches extended the ban to all Eastern-rite priests throughout North America, South America and Australia.

The 1929 prohibition, known as “Cum data fuerit,” had significant repercussions for the Eastern Catholic churches in the United States. Cardinal Sandri’s decree noted that soon after the law was promulgated, “an estimated 200,000 Ruthenian faithful became Orthodox.”

Ruthenian Bishop John Kudrick of Parma, Ohio, told CNS Nov. 16 that he sees the end to imposed celibacy for Eastern priests in the diaspora as an acknowledgement of the Eastern churches’ “obligation to maintain their integrity” and “of the right of the various churches to equal responsibility of evangelization throughout the world.”

“The world needs the church in its fullness,” he said, adding he believes the “change of policy results from the longstanding experience of married priests in the Western world, especially the Orthodox, but also Eastern Catholic.”

Bishop Kudrick said Eastern churches in the diaspora have a responsibility to minister to new immigrants, who are accustomed to married priests.

“Because of the dual responsibilities to maintain continuity with our past and to reach out to the society to which we are called, some degree of freedom is necessary,” he said.

Father Alexander Laschuk, a canon lawyer, said the new decree also “regularizes a situation” in which some Eastern married men were being ordained despite the 1929 law. Father Laschuk is a Ukrainian Catholic married priest and university lecturer, who also works for the regional tribunal of the Archdiocese of Toronto.

In the 1970s and 1980s, in an attempt to circumvent the Vatican restriction, some Eastern Catholic married men were ordained clandestinely outside North America. Many of them received suspension notices from the Holy See, he said.

By the mid-1990s, Ukrainian Catholic bishops were ordaining married men in Canada, he said, and the suspension notices eventually stopped coming. Such ordinations, though few, were even less frequent in the United States.

Still, Father Laschuk said, the ordinations did not represent a “regular” situation in the church. “It was something that was happening. I wouldn’t even say that it was tolerated,” he said. “It was happening underground. The Holy See and the Latin bishops were being informed after the fact because I think it was understood that if they were told before, permission would not be coming and it would be stopped.”

The modus operandi was that “it was better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission,” he said.

“From a canonical point of view, the new legislation puts into universal law the possibility of (Eastern Catholic) married men being ordained throughout the world,” Father Laschuk said, with the full faculty to ordain granted to each Eastern Catholic ordinary within his diocese.

Jesuit Father Brian Daley, a longtime member of the North American Catholic-Orthodox Theological Consultation, said he expects the new legislation will have a “very positive” impact on ecumenical relations. For many Eastern Catholics and Orthodox, he said, the ban “has been a wound and a source of resentment.”

Consultation members had issued a statement June 6 urging an end to the ban, which was experienced as an injustice among Eastern Catholics. Among the Orthodox, the ban created mistrust toward the Catholic Church and a sense that their tradition would not be respected in the event of full communion between the two churches, he explained.

“It’s really important that this has finally been cleared up. It is one more divisive issue that has been taken away,” said Father Daley, a theology professor at Notre Dame University in Indiana.

“It’s good news for everybody in the Catholic Church, both East and West,” he added. “Vatican II called for the church to respect the ancient traditions of the Eastern churches. It was true in principle but not in practice.”

Father Laschuk said he also hopes the new legislation will create a culture in the church in North America, in which married clergy are more welcome.

“Previously, there were cases where married priests were not treated fully as priests, as if they were somewhat less,” he said. “I hope this will grant them greater respect, now that the Holy Father has approved it.”

 — By Laura Ieraci

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Pope Francis confirms he will visit Philadelphia next September

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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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Lives in the balance: Pope tells accountants to promote solidarity

November 14th, 2014 Posted in Vatican News Tags: , , ,

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Meeting with thousands of accountants from around the world, Pope Francis pleaded with them to remember that behind every piece of paper that crosses their desks there are real human beings.

“When money is the aim and reason for every activity and initiative,” he said Nov. 14, everything and everyone is placed at its service, and both solidarity and respect for people decline.

Pope Francis arrives to lead audience with accountants at VaticanSpeaking to about 7,000 people participating in the World Congress of Accountants, Pope Francis said the global financial situation particularly highlights the importance of work and the disaster of unemployment.

“From your professional observation point, you are well aware of the dramatic reality of so many people whose employment is precarious, or who have lost their jobs” and of the “many families that pay the consequences.” Many young people struggle to find their first job and, he said, many immigrants are “forced to work ‘under the table,’ lacking the most basic juridical and economic protections.”

When the economy is so tough, he said, people are tempted to try to defend their own positions and interests “without worrying about the common good and without giving much attention to justice and legality.”

In such situations, he said, accountants and others involved in guaranteeing the smooth functioning of economic activity not only must do their jobs well, but also must promote the greater good by remembering that “behind every piece of paper there is a story, there are faces.”

Christian accountants are called to live up to their profession’s code of ethics, Pope Francis said, but they also are called to “go beyond, which means: reaching out to people in difficulty; exercising creativity to find solutions to problems that seem blocked; and ensuring human dignity is valued in the face of rigid bureaucracy.”

For all accountants, he said, it is not enough to be able to answer questions about a balance sheet. “You must keep alive the value of solidarity as a moral attitude and expression of attention toward others who have legitimate needs.”

Repeating his suspicion that the word “solidarity” has been “thrown out of the dictionary’ and banned from many people’s vocabularies, Pope Francis said that anyone who wants to pass on a better world to future generations will “assume responsibility for promoting a globalization of solidarity.”

 

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