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Spiritual success measures quality of American life, Trump says at prayer breakfast

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — “Spiritual success” is a more accurate measure for the United States than wealth, according to likely billionaire President Donald Trump in remarks Feb. 2 at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump prays during the National Prayer Breakfast Feb. 2 in Washington. (CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump prays during the National Prayer Breakfast Feb. 2 in Washington. (CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters)

“America is a nation of believers,” Trump said. “In towns across the land, we see what we so easily forget: The quality of our lives is not defined by our material success but by our spiritual success. I speak that as someone who has had great material success and who knows many people who have had great material success. … Some of them are very miserable, miserable people.”

Compared to people to have money but no happiness, the people who have no money but happiness “are the successful people, let me tell you,” Trump said at the 65th annual breakfast, attended by 3,000 politicians, religious leaders and dignitaries, including King Abdullah of Jordan.

Trump spoke about having gone to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware the previous day for the return of the remains of William “Ryan” Owens, a Navy SEAL killed in a firefight with al-Qaida in Yemen. “Greater love has no man than that a man lay down his life for his friends,” the president said. “We will never forget the men and women who wear the uniform, believe me.”

Freedom is not “a gift of government” but “a gift of God,” Trump added. “It was the great Thomas Jefferson who said that the God who gave us life gave us liberty.” But the nation’s 45th president questioned whether “the liberties of the nation will be secure if we remove the conviction that these liberties are the gift of God.”

“That is why I will get rill get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment, and allow our religious representatives to speak freely without fear and without retribution,” Trump said. The amendment, attached by then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson to a 1954 bill, bans federally recognized nonprofits from making political endorsements. “Freedom of religion is a sacred right, but it is a right under threat all round us,” said the president.

In his speech, Trump alluded to the executive memorandum he issued Jan. 27 that bans refugees hailing from seven majority-Muslim countries — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia — for 90 days. His action suspends the entire U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days.

“Our nation has the most generous immigration system in the world. But there are those who would exploit that generosity,” he said.

“We want people to come into our nation but we want people to love us and to love our values, not to hate us and hate our values. We will be a safe country, we will be a free country, where people can practice their beliefs without fear of hostility and without fear of violence.”

Trump’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast lasted one minute longer than his 18-minute presidential inaugural speech.

“Five words that never fail to touch my heart,” Trump said at the breakfast, are “I am praying for you.” “I hear it so often” ‘I am praying for you, Mr. President.’”

He lauded the keynote address given by the Rev. Barry Black, a Seventh-day Adventists who is chaplain of the Senate. The speech was so good, he told Rev. Black, “I’m going to appoint you for another year, the hell with it.” Chaplains are appointed by their respective house of Congress.

Trump also talked about how he “had to leave” his job hosting “The Celebrity Apprentice” after he announced his presidential bid. “They hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger to take my place, and we know how that turned out: The ratings went right down the tubes, it was a disaster. Pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings.”

 

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Cardinal Dolan: If sanctuary of the womb is violated, no one is safe

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York warned that if the sanctuary of the womb is violated, then other sanctuaries are at risk.

“Can any of us be safe, can any of us claim a sanctuary anywhere when the first and most significant sanctuary of them all, the mother’s womb protecting a tiny life, can be raided and ravaged?” he asked in his homily during the Jan. 26 opening Mass for the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The vigil always precedes the annual March for Life, which takes place on the National Mall.

New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, waves as he arrives to concelebrate the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington Jan. 26. The all-night vigil is held before the annual March for Life, which this year marked the 44th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion across the nation. (CNS/Bob Roller)

New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, waves as he arrives to concelebrate the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington Jan. 26. The all-night vigil is held before the annual March for Life, which this year marked the 44th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion across the nation. (CNS/Bob Roller)

Cardinal Dolan, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, called the womb “a sanctuary which beckons us, where we are safe and secure in our mother’s tender yet strong embrace, where the Creator himself assures us of protection and life itself, a sanctuary God has designed for us to protect our lives now and in eternity.”

He summoned up a montage of sanctuaries throughout human history, including those used by the Israelites, the sanctuary of the temple in Jerusalem where Mary and Joseph took Jesus each year, the use of cathedrals and churches as sanctuaries from violence, and the United States, first as a sanctuary for the Pilgrims fleeing religious violence in England, later for Catholics with little to their name but “clinging within to that pearl of great price, their faith,” and today’s immigrants and refugees.

When life in the womb is threatened, “should it shock us” that “such a society would begin to treat the sanctuary of the earth’s environment as a toxic waste dump; would begin to consider homes and neighborhoods as dangerous instead of as sanctuaries where families are protected and fostered; would commence to approach the poor as bothersome instead of brothers?” Cardinal Dolan asked.

Shrine officials estimated that 12,000 attended the Jan. 26 Mass, which was shown on three cable channels and broadcast on two radio networks. Among the faithful were 545 seminarians, 90 deacons, 320 priests, 40 bishops and five cardinals in a 20-minute entrance procession.

The faithful were squeezed more tightly than usual as pews in the left transept were blocked off so work crews could continue work on the shrine’s Trinity Dome, which should be completed by next year’s March for Life. The blockage resulted in the loss of “several hundred” seats, according to shrine spokeswoman Jacqueline Hayes.

Auxiliary Bishop Barry R. Knestout of Washington received applause when he announced near the end of the Mass that the starting times for three pre-March for Life Masses elsewhere in Washington the next morning would be moved up an hour to allow for longer lines in security checkpoints at the pre-march rally, as among those speaking at it now included “senior White House officials and a special guest.” No name was mentioned, but earlier in the day it was announced Vice President Mike Pence would address the March for Life rally in person. After a lineup of speakers, rally participants then march from the National Mall to Constitution Avenue, then up the avenue to the Supreme Court.

The weather changed overnight from the low 50s at the start of the Jan. 26 Mass to a more typical near-freezing temperature with stiff winds before a Jan. 27 morning Mass at the shrine celebrated by Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans, USCCB secretary.

Archbishop Aymond’s homily sounded a similar theme to Cardinal Dolan’s in terms how acceptance of abortion is “used to justify” other disrespect for life at various stages, citing assisted suicide, euthanasia, the death penalty and the rejection of immigrants. Quoting from that day’s Gospel, Archbishop Aymond said, “Jesus says, ‘Let them come to me, let them come to me.’”

He received applause from a Mass attendance estimated at 3,500 when he cited the results of a recent study that showed “the abortion rate in the United States has hit a historic low since Roe v. Wade.” Archbishop Aymond said the study speculated on various reasons for the decline, but one was not mentioned.

That reason was “the witness of so many people for life,” he said. “Youth and young adults are strongly pro-life in our world and in our church,” he added to applause. “You are making a difference in the United States. You are changing our culture from a culture of death into a culture of life,” the archbishop said to more applause.

During the March for Life, and afterward in the marchers’ parishes and neighborhoods, Archbishop Aymond said, “we will continue to witness, and with God’s help, we will continue to be strong voices for the respect and the dignity of human life.”

 

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Trump reinstates policy banning U.S. funds for abortions in other countries

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order Jan. 23 reinstating the “Mexico City Policy,” which bans all foreign nongovernmental organizations receiving U.S. funds from performing or promoting abortion as a method of family planning in other countries.

The action was hailed by pro-life leaders.

“President Trump is continuing Ronald Reagan’s legacy by taking immediate action on day one to stop the promotion of abortion through our tax dollars overseas,” said a Jan. 23 statement from Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.

U.S. President Donald J. Trump holds up his executive order reinstating the "Mexico City Policy" banning federal funding of abortion-providing groups abroad after he signed it Jan. 23 in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (CNS /Kevin Lamarque, Reuters)

U.S. President Donald J. Trump holds up his executive order reinstating the “Mexico City Policy” banning federal funding of abortion-providing groups abroad after he signed it Jan. 23 in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (CNS /Kevin Lamarque, Reuters)

“President Trump’s immediate action to promote respect for all human life, including vulnerable unborn children abroad, as well as conscience rights, sends a strong signal about his administration’s pro-life priorities,” she said.

“By redirecting taxpayer dollars away from the international abortion industry, President Trump has reinstituted life-affirming protections for unborn children and their mothers,” said a Jan. 23 statement by Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. “There is political consensus that taxpayer dollars should not fund abortion and the abortion industry.”

“Now we see pro-life fruits of the election unfolding as President Trump has taken immediate action to reinstitute President Reagan’s Mexico City Policy,” said Father Frank Pavone, head of Priests for Life, in a Jan. 23 statement. “Poll after poll shows that Americans do not want their tax money to pay for abortions. Stopping funding to foreign pro-abortion groups is a powerful first step toward doing the same domestically.”

Named for the city that hosted the U.N. International Conference on Population in 1984, where Reagan, then in his first term as president, unveiled it, the Mexico City Policy has been the textbook definition of a political football. Adopted by a Republican president, it has been rescinded when Democrats sat in the White House, only to be restored when Republicans claimed the presidency.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton’s revocation of the policy was made so quickly following his inauguration that some participants in the March for Life, conducted two days after the inauguration, carried “Impeach Clinton” signs.

Just as Clinton had rescinded the policy two days after taking office, so did President George W. Bush reinstate it two days into his presidency, expanding it to include all voluntary family planning activities. President Barack Obama rescinded the policy Jan. 23, 2009.

Court challenges to the policy resulted in rulings in 1987 and 1988 that limited its application to foreign NGOs.

The executive order “makes clear that Trump intends to carry out with his promised pro-life agenda. Taxpayer funding for abortions, whether here or overseas, is unpopular with voters and is plain wrong,” said a Jan. 23 statement by Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow with the Catholic Association.

“It amounts to subsidizing the violent victimization of women and children, in particular poor and minority women who feel they have no choice but to have an abortion,” McGuire said. “Redirecting those funds to health centers that offer women real choice and hope is the right policy moving forward.”

 

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‘We will be protected by God,’ Trump declares in inaugural address

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — President Donald J. Trump told the nation in his inaugural address that it need not fear in the days ahead.

“There should not be fear,” Trump said Jan. 20. “We are protected and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement, and, most important, we will be protected by God.”

President Donald Trump listens to the national anthem after his Jan. 20 swearing-in as the country's 45th president at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters)

President Donald Trump listens to the national anthem after his Jan. 20 swearing-in as the country’s 45th president at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters)

In signaling a new era for the United States, “at the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other,” Trump said in his 15-minute address. “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.”

He said Americans of all stripes harbor common hopes and dreams.

“We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms,” Trump said, “and we all salute the same great American flag. And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.”

Much of the rest of Trump’s inaugural address restated the themes he used in his presidential campaign, remarking repeatedly that the nation and its citizens would be his top priority as president.

“Today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another,” Trump said from the west front of the Capitol, “but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.”

He added, “This moment is your moment. It belongs to you. It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day, this is your celebration, and this, the United States of America, is your country.”

Trump distilled the ills he saw in the United States: “Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation. An education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge. And the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

The 45th president, who is a Presbyterian, said: “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first. America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.”

Trump dwelt briefly on the United States’ role in the world. “We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first,” he said. “We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow. We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.”

He vowed to Americans, “You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way. Together we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And, yes, together, we will make America great again.”

Before the swearing-in ceremonies, the Trump family attended a private prayer service St. John’s Episcopal Church across Lafayette Square from the White House. Hosting the service has been a tradition for the church for at least a dozen presidential inaugurals.

At the Capitol, New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan was among a number of religious leaders taking part in the inauguration ceremonies. The cardinal read a passage from the Book of Wisdom.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas administered the oath of office to Vice President Mike Pence, then U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath to Trump. Standing at the new president’s side were his wife, Melania, and children Donald Jr., Barron, Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany.

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Bishops still have hope Congress will pass immigration reform

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — Despite the apprehension over policies that could be enacted by a Republican-led Congress acting in accord with a Republican president in Donald Trump, the U.S. Catholic bishops remain hopeful that Congress will pass an immigration reform bill.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent frisks a man Jan. 11 near the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Jacumba, Calif. Despite the apprehension over policies that could be enacted by a Republican-led Congress acting in accord with a Republican president in Donald Trump, the U.S. Catholic bishops remain hopeful that an immigration reform bill will pass. (CNS photo/Mike Blake, Reuters)

A U.S. Border Patrol agent frisks a man Jan. 11 near the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Jacumba, Calif. Despite the apprehension over policies that could be enacted by a Republican-led Congress acting in accord with a Republican president in Donald Trump, the U.S. Catholic bishops remain hopeful that an immigration reform bill will pass. (CNS photo/Mike Blake, Reuters)

“This is a new moment with a new Congress, a new administration. We should up our expectations and move very carefully on comprehensive immigration reform,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, of Galveston-Houston, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“I think this might be a very good time, a better time, to pursue our goals,” Cardinal DiNardo said during a Jan. 12 conference call promoting National Migration Week, Jan. 8-14.

“I think the (bishops’) conference is trying to start a conversation with the transition team of the president-elect,” said Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, USCCB vice president. “We continue to help elected officials … to understand the issue,” he added. “I think we are trying to establish that communication.”

“We are very much concerned about keeping families together. It’s Important to respect the security of this nation … but never to lose that human face to this reality,” added Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Migration.

“People are suffering. People want to be welcome. People want to be a part of this great American society,” Bishop Vasquez said. “We need to bring about some change,” he added. “We hope the president will work with us and with Congress as well to pass some laws that will be humane and respectful.”

“In the days and weeks ahead, there will be intense debate over immigration reform and refugee policy. Ultimately, the question is this: Will our nation treat all migrants and refugees, regardless of their national origin or religion, in a way that respects their inherent dignity as children of God?” Cardinal DiNardo said.

“Pope Francis reminds us we are all equal before God. In equal measure, we are in need of and can receive God’s great mercy. This is what makes us sisters and brothers, regardless of how we chose to divide ourselves.”

The morning of the conference call, Archbishop Gomez presented a video message from Pope Francis on immigration during a Mass at the Dolores Mission Church in Boyle Heights, California, near Los Angeles. The clip was part of the pope’s interview with a U.S. television journalist.

Bishop Vasquez dismissed the notion that nationwide immigration reform is virtually impossible.

“I don’t know whether indeed working with the local level is sufficient. I think we as a church have to work with our local communities, with our local diocese and our state Catholic conferences,” he said. “But it’s important that we engage the current administration, to make known what is taking place in our countries. We have to work at the local level, but yes, we also have to work at the national level.”

“There are many in Congress who think that immigration reform is a definite possibility,” said Ashley Feasley, policy director for the USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services. “We need to show the need for the reform of our broken system.”

Shortly after Trump’s election, Archbishop Gomez had preached about children in his diocese going to bed afraid. Bishops, he said during the conference call, “can be present to the people and give that sense of peace that we are together. There is a democratic process in our country, and this happens every four years. … We can address those situations and accomplish that in the specific area of immigration reform.”

He added that in his archdiocese, people are “more open to see the future with more peace and understanding.”

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U.S. church preparing for 2018 ‘Encuentro’ in Fort Worth

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Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE — The Catholic Church in the United States is gearing up for the fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry, to be held in September 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas.

‘Encuentro’ is the Spanish word for meeting.

The effort got a personal endorsement from Pope Francis during a Nov. 15 video message to the U.S. bishops at their fall general assembly in Baltimore.

Auxiliary Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Rockville Centre, N.Y., greets people following Mass at the diocese's annual Encuentro gathering at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, N.Y., Sept. 5. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island)

Auxiliary Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Rockville Centre, N.Y., greets people following Mass at the diocese’s annual Encuentro gathering at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, N.Y., Sept. 5. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island)

“The church in America as elsewhere is called to go out from its comfort zone and be a leaven of communion –- communion among ourselves, with our fellow Christians, and with all who seek a future of hope,” Pope Francis said in the message.

“The Christian community is meant to be a sign of prophecy, of God’s plan for the entire human family,” the pope said. “We are called to be bearers of good news for a society gripped by disconcerting social, cultural and spiritual shifts and increasing polarization.”

The theme for the “V Encuentro,” as it is known in shorthand, is “Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love,” according to Auxiliary Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Rockville Centre, New York, chairman of the bishops’ Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs.

“It is a great opportunity for the church to reach out to our Hispanic brothers and sisters with Christ’s message of hope and love,” he said. “It is a time to listen, a time to develop meaningful relationships, a time to learn and bear abundant fruits, and a time to rejoice in God’s love.”

The V Encuentro will be the culmination of parish, diocesan and regional encuentros, in which the bishops anticipate more than 1 million Catholics participating over the next two years.

Starting in January and going through June next year, missionary activity and consultation will take place. Parish encuentros will take place around the country next May and June in an estimated 5,000 parishes.

In the fall of 2017, diocesan encuentros are scheduled, with expectations that more than 150 dioceses will be taking part with a hoped-for 200,000 participants.

Regional encuentros are slated for March-June 2018, with 10,000 delegates expected; the regions will conform to the U.S. bishops’ 14 episcopal regions.

Then comes the V Encuentro, to be held Sept. 20-23, 2018, in Fort Worth. But that’s not the end as there will be a post-encuentro working document written to implement the V Encuentro’s results.

The ultimate goals of the encuentro process are “two sides of the same coin,” Bishop Perez said. “To discern the ways in which the church in the United States can better respond to Hispanic/Latinos, and strengthen the ways in which Hispanics respond to the call to the new evangelization.”

Among the outcomes Bishop Perez said should result from the V Encuentro are the identification of best practices and pastoral initiatives in the development of resources in parishes, dioceses, schools and national organizations; an increase in the number of vocations to priesthood, religious life and the permanent diaconate; an increase in the percentage of Hispanic students in Catholic schools from the current 15.5 percent to 20 percent; to identify at least 20,000 emerging leaders ready for ongoing formation and ministry in the church; and an increased sense of belonging and stewardship among Hispanics.

 

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U.S. bishops elect Texas cardinal president of their conference

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Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston was elected president of the U.S. bishops’ conference Nov. 15 for a three-year term to begin at the conclusion of the bishops’ annual fall general assembly in Baltimore.

Cardinal DiNardo collected a majority of votes on the first ballot of voting during the second day of the bishops’ public session. Based on the number of bishops voting, 104 votes were needed for election, and Cardinal DiNardo, the current vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, received 113.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston,  Nov. 15 at the annual fall general assembly of the USCCB in Baltimore, was elected president of the conference, succeeding Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., (at right). (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Nov. 15 at the annual fall general assembly of the USCCB in Baltimore, was elected president of the conference, succeeding Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., (at right). (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

He will succeed Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, whose three-year term as president concludes at the end of the meeting.

Elected vice president was Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles. By virtue of his election, Archbishop Gomez will not take over as chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Migration. He was elected last year as chairman-elect of the committee and was to succeed the current outgoing chairman, Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo of Seattle, at the end of this year’s general assembly.

A lunchtime meeting was scheduled for the committee to advance two names for chairman to be voted on by the full body of bishops.

Archbishop Gomez was elected vice president on the third ballot.

Under rules established by the USCCB, the names of 10 bishops who are willing to be nominated for the USCCB presidency are presented for voting. After a president is elected, the remaining nine are then considered for the vice presidency.

If no candidate of the nine has received a simple majority after two ballots, the third ballot features only the two top vote-getters in the second round. Archbishop Gomez was elected over Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans.

The other nominees were, in alphabetical order, Archbishops Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City; Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas, the only non-archbishop among the original 10; and Archbishops William E. Lori of Baltimore, Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit, Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, and John C. Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The bishops also voted for chairmen-elect of five standing committees and three representatives for the board of Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development agency.

The standing committees include Canonical Affairs and Church Governance; Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs; Evangelization and Catechesis; International Justice and Peace; and Protection of Children and Young People.

The chairmen-elect each will begin a three-year term as chairmen at the end of the bishops’ fall general assembly in 2017:

— Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance: Bishop Robert P. Deeley of Portland, Maine, elected over Bishop David M. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois, 111 to 89.

— Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs: Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania, elected over Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, California, 115 to 90.

— Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis: Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron of Los Angeles elected over Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, 122 to 90.

– Committee on International Justice and Peace: Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services elected over Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego, 127 to 88.

— Committee on Protection of Children and Young People: Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette, Indiana, elected over Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima, Washington, 128 to 86.

Also several chairmen-elect chosen last year will become committee chairmen at the end of this year’s assembly and will serve three-year terms:

— Divine Worship: Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta.

— Domestic Justice and Human Development: Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida.

— Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations: Cardinal-elect Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis, who recently was appointed archbishop of Newark, New Jersey.

— Catholic Education: Bishop George V. Murry of Youngstown, Ohio.

— Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth: Archbishop Chaput.

A vote also was taken for three seats on the board of Catholic Relief Services. Elected were Archbishop Coakley, who ends his term as president of the board but remained eligible to continue serving; Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee; and Bishop Gregory L. Parkes of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida.

 

Contributing to this story was Dennis Sadowski. Follow Pattison and Sadowski on Twitter: @MeMarkPattison and @DennisSadowski.

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Big lessons learned from small actions, departing U.S. bishops’ president says

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Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE — In small and often intimate gestures, there are big lessons for bishops to learn as they exercise their ministry, said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, in his final address as president of the U.S. bishops’ conference.

“No words of Jesus are more concrete in capturing God’s mercy at work in our bishops’ conference than his call in Matthew 25: ‘What you did for one of my least, you did for me,’” he said in remarks prepared for delivery Nov. 14 in Baltimore at the U.S. bishops’ annual fall general assembly. Read more »

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Latinos, white women give Clinton lead among Catholics in poll

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — Catholics are giving a decided edge to Hillary Clinton, as she has a 5-to-4 margin over Donald Trump, according to a new poll released Oct. 31 at a news conference at the National Press Club.

Hispanic Catholics and white women are helping Clinton make these gains, said the poll results, released by the Public Religion Research Institute in conjunction with the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington.

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton greet each other at the start of their first presidential debate Sept. 27 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. (CNS photo/Mike Segar, Reuters)

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton greet each other at the start of their first presidential debate Sept. 27 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. (CNS photo/Mike Segar, Reuters)

Clinton, the Democratic nominee, got support from 51 percent of Catholics compared to 40 percent for Donald Trump, the Republican nominee. This compares to a much closer 50 percent-48 percent advantage Catholics gave to President Barack Obama over GOP challenger Mitt Romney four years ago in Obama’s re-election bid.

White Catholics prefer Trump by a plurality of 48 percent to 41 percent. But nonwhite Catholics give Clinton a 78 percent-17 percent boost, said Robert Jones, PRRI president, during the news conference. By comparison, Romney carried white Catholics by 18 percentage points in 2012, but lost to Hispanic Catholics by 54 percentage points.

That Republicans are trailing so badly among Hispanics should come as no surprise, said Maria Teresa Kumar, founding president of Voto Latino, when in 2012 “you talk self-deportation,” a Romney position on immigration, and in 2016 “you’re talking about their families … and then you start talking about building a wall.”

Trump made headlines on the campaign trail with his remarks that immigrants who are entering the country without legal permission are “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists,” and about building a wall to stop such border crossings and make Mexico pay for it.

Many immigrants, Kumar said, live in “mixed status families,” some with legal status, others without legal status, others are citizens, including the U.S.-born children of immigrants in the U.S. without documentation and 51 percent of what she called the nation’s “population boom” are the children of immigrants.

Jones said white Catholics’ overall support for Trump did not vary much by age, as Catholics ages 18-49 favored him 49 percent to 40 percent for Clinton, while those 50 and over chose Trump 47 percent to 41 percent for Clinton. He attributed the lack of difference to the church’s “loss of the young people, who are generally more liberal.” Jones said this trend also can be spotted among white evangelical Christians.

The bigger difference, according to the poll, comes in gender. White Catholic men back Trump 58 percent to 33 percent for Hillary, but white Catholic women support Clinton 49 percent with 38 percent for Trump. “A gender gap in vote preference is evident across religious groups,” said the poll, titled “The 2016 Religion Vote.” But “white Catholic voters have a much more pronounced gender gap,” it said.

There is a gender gap among Hispanics who vote, according to Kumar. In the last presidential election, 51 percent of Hispanic women voted, she said, but only 39 percent of Hispanic men did.

The numbers for this new poll were aggregated from four separate PRRI polls conducted Sept. 22-Oct. 17. The time frame includes the leaking by NBC of a recording of lewd comments made by Trump off camera in 2005 that were picked up by a hot mic before a TV interview. The time period does not include the third presidential debate or the FBI announcement Oct. 28 that it was conducting a further investigation into Clinton’s emails being on an unauthorized computer when she was secretary of state.

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne reiterated a conviction he said he has long held: “There is no ‘Catholic vote’’ — and it’s important.”

Catholics make up a bit over one-fifth of the electorate. However, their numbers are stronger in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where they are about one-third of all voters, Dionne said. Catholics also make up about one-fourth of all voters in Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Ohio. All these states were being hotly contested in the campaign’s final days.

Jones showed a pie chart in his presentation dividing Catholics into three roughly equal parts: “intentional Catholics” who go to church weekly and tilt Republican; “cultural Catholics” who go to church less often and lean Democratic; and Latino Catholics, whose “slice” of the pie in the chart was the largest of the three.

Dionne, though, broke it down into “social renewal Catholics” for whom life issues are paramount and “social justice Catholics” who focus more on Catholic social teaching. The differences are real, he said. “You see this right at the parish level all over the country. There are differences” in how the Gospel mandate is interpreted, Dionne added.

“Ideology trumps religion. Ideology trumps faith,” he declared.

To illustrate Dionne’s point, Jones cited result from a PRRI survey released Oct. 26, “The Divide Over America’s Future: 1950 or 2050?” Respondents were asked, “Since the 1950s, do you think American culture and way of life has mostly changed for the better, or has it mostly changed for the worse?” Sixty-five percent of Hispanic Catholics replied it had mostly changed for the better, but 57 percent of white Catholics said it had mostly changed for the worse.

 

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Benedictine abbot recalls Palmer’s connection to Latrobe abbey

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Catholic News Service

Benedictine Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki of St. Vincent’s Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, was with Arnold Palmer when the golfing great died Sept. 25 in Pittsburgh.

Former champion Arnold Palmer of the U.S hits from a sand trap during the 2008 annual Masters Par 3 golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Palmer, known as "the King" for his transformative legacy in golf, died Sept. 25 at a Pittsburgh hospital at age 87. (CNS photo/Hans Deryk, Reuters)

Former champion Arnold Palmer of the U.S hits from a sand trap during the 2008 annual Masters Par 3 golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Palmer, known as “the King” for his transformative legacy in golf, died Sept. 25 at a Pittsburgh hospital at age 87. (CNS photo/Hans Deryk, Reuters)

It wasn’t the first time Archabbot Nowicki had visited Palmer that day. Palmer, 87, was in a hospital awaiting a heart operation scheduled for Sept. 26. “I went to say a prayer and give him a blessing. About an hour after I’d departed, I got a call” that Palmer’s health was failing rapidly, the archabbot said in a Sept. 26 telephone interview.

Even though Palmer was a lifelong Presbyterian, he’d had a relationship with St. Vincent’s spanning more than 50 years, when Archabbot Nowicki was in the high school at the archabbey.

Palmer did not let denominational differences deter him. “Arnie sort of appealed to everyone. There were no barriers, race, color, creed — those were things that never entered into” his mind, Archabbot Nowicki said. “He was welcoming to everybody and treated everyone with tremendous warmth and respect.” Palmer came with his wife on occasion to the archabbey’s 7:30 a.m. Sunday Mass.

“I remember him coming here on one occasion after winning several of the golf tournaments early in his career. He was hitting golf balls for the students. By then he had a fairly good reputation,” Archabbot Nowicki recalled. “He would give a little demonstration. I remember when he was doing it they put a little trash pail out in the middle, about 150 yards out, and he was hitting balls out and he got about five in the tanker,” he chuckled.

“The first time he invited me over, I told him I didn’t know how to play, so I sent my prior, Father Albert. But this was after he retired professionally. But he still played golf, every day at Latrobe Country Club.” When the archabbot saw Palmer again, he said Palmer told him, “The next time you send someone, send someone who is as good as your prior. This guy cost me 20 bucks.”

“Arnie, as you know, was competitive and enjoyed playing with good golfers,” Archabbot Nowicki said.

“Fred Rogers (of ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ fame) and Arnie Palmer went to the same school together. I think they were one year apart. They were very good friends during his lifetime,” the archabbot said. “Arnie’s father taught Mr. Rogers how to play golf. … (Rogers) “said that his father taught Arnie better than he taught him.”

In retirement, Palmer lived five months of the year in his native Latrobe. Not only did he and his first wife, Winnie, who died in 1999, lend their name and their presence to various archabbey events, Winnie Palmer was “very helpful at keeping Wal-Mart out of our backyard,” Archabbot Nowicki said. Arnold Palmer also served on the St. Vincent’s College board of directors. In 1996 the college gave Palmer an honorary degree.

Archabbot Nowicki took up Palmer’s invitation to join him when the golfing legend received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2012. Jack Nicklaus was there and he paid tribute to Arnie at the service, the archabbot recalled. “I know Jack had always been a wonderful friend of Arnie’s, and the two enjoyed each other’s company.”

The archabbot remembered visiting Palmer at his Bay Hill Golf Club near Orlando, Florida. “He had given one of our commencement addresses. He talked about the importance of decorum. He said, ‘That means when you enter a room that you take your hat off.’” At the club, a man “came into the dining room and had his hat on. Arnie said very gently to him, ‘Will you please take off your hat?’ He had that respect for people.”

Palmer learned golf from his father, who was the greenskeeper at the Latrobe Country Club. He attended what was then Wake Forest College on a golf scholarship. He left school and enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard, serving for three years. In 1954, he won the U.S. Amateur golf tournament; a year later he won the Canadian Open, and his golf career was launched.

Palmer won 95 professional championships, including 62 on the PGA Tour, and seven major tournaments. He earned $1.6 million in prize money, and another $50 million in golf-related business off the course. He also was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004.

The archabbey will hold a memorial service for Palmer Oct. 4 at the basilica on the archabbey grounds.

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