Saturday, March 25, 2017
Today’s readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032517.cfm
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Today’s readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032517.cfm
For The Dialog
ALAPOCAS – Senior Brooke Schmeusser scored five goals, including her 200th career tally, in the Ursuline Raiders’ 17-7 girls lacrosse win over Friends on March 24. She came into the game needing four to reach the milestone. Read more »
WILMINGTON – After a fairly even first half, Ursuline turned up the pressure and controlled the play. The Raiders scored five second-half goals on their way to a 6-0 shutout of St. Mark’s in girls soccer March 24 at Serviam Field. Read more »
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY — Europe must recover the memories and lessons of past tragedies in order to confront the challenges Europeans face today that seek to divide rather than unite humanity, Pope Francis said.
While the founding fathers of what is now the European Union worked toward a “united and open Europe,” free of the “walls and divisions” erected after World War II, the tragedy of poverty and violence affecting millions of innocent people lingers on, the pope told European leaders gathered at the Vatican March 24.
“Where generations longed to see the fall of those signs of forced hostility, these days we debate how to keep out the ‘dangers’ of our time, beginning with the long file of women, men and children fleeing war and poverty, seeking only a future for themselves and their loved ones,” he said.
Pope Francis welcomed the 27 European heads of state to the Vatican to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome, which gave birth to European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community.
Signed March 25, 1957, the treaties sought to unite Europe following the devastation wrought by World War II. The agreements laid the groundwork for what eventually became the European Union.
Entering the “Sala Regia” of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis placed his hand above his heart and bowed slightly to the European leaders before taking his seat. At the end of the audience, he and the government leaders went into the Sistine Chapel and posed for a photograph in front of Michelangelo’s fresco, The Last Judgment.
In his speech, the pope said the commemoration of the treaty should not be reduced to “a remembrance of things past,” but should motivate a desire “to relive that event in order to appreciate its significance for the present.”
“The memory of that day is linked to today’s hopes and expectations of the people of Europe, who call for discernment in the present so that the journey that has begun can continue with renewed enthusiasm and confidence,” he said.
At the heart of the founding fathers’ creation of a united Europe, the pope continued, was concern for the human person, who after years of bloodshed held on “to faith in the possibility of a better future.”
“That spirit remains as necessary as ever today, in the face of centrifugal impulses and the temptation to reduce the founding ideals of the union to productive, economic and financial needs,” he said.
But despite achievements in forging unity and solidarity, Pope Francis said, Europe today suffers from a “lapse of memory” where peace is now “regarded as superfluous.”
To regain the peace attained in the past, he added, Europe must reconnect with its Christian roots otherwise “the Western values of dignity, freedom and justice would prove largely incomprehensible.”
“The fruitfulness of that connection will make it possible to build authentically secular societies, free of ideological conflicts, with equal room for the native and the immigrant, for believers and nonbelievers,” the pope said.
The economic crisis of the past decade, the crisis of the family “and established social models” and the current migration crisis, he said, offer an opportunity for Europe’s leaders to discern and assess rather than “engender fear and profound confusion.”
“Ours is a time of discernment, one that invites us to determine what is essential and to build on it,” the pope said. “It is a time of challenge and opportunity.”
Europe, he added, will find new hope “when man is at the center and the heart of her institutions” in order to stem “the growing split between the citizenry and the European institutions which are often perceived as distant and inattentive to the different sensibilities present in the union.”
The migration crisis also offers an opportunity for Europe’s leaders to refuse to give in to fear and “false forms of security,” while posing a much deeper question to the continent’s citizens.
“What kind of culture does Europe propose today?” he asked, adding that the fear of migrants “has its root cause in the loss of ideals.”
“Without an approach inspired by those ideals, we end up dominated by the fear that others will wrench us from our usual habits, deprive us of familiar comforts and somehow call into question a lifestyle that all too often consists of material prosperity alone.”
By defending families, investing in development and peace and defending the family and life “in all its sacredness,” Europe can once again find new ways to steer its course, Pope Francis told the European heads of state.
“As leaders, you are called to blaze the path of a new European humanism made up of ideals and concrete actions,” the pope said. “This will mean being unafraid to make practical decisions capable of responding to people’s real problems and of standing the test of time.”
Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.
Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON — Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity, who is president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, doesn’t mince words when it comes to the American Health Care Act, which was short of votes and withdrawn by House Republicans late March 24.
Two days before the GOP legislation was set for an initial vote in Congress and then delayed due to last-minute wrangling and efforts to gain support, she described the bill as a disgrace, a pro-life disaster, a huge step back, catastrophic for Catholic social teaching and something that would do incredible damage.
The woman religious, who heads an organization of more than 600 hospitals and 1,400 long-term care and other health facilities in the United States, has a vested interest in the nation’s health care and she also knows the ins and outs of health care legislation from working behind the scenes “forever,” as she describes it, on the Affordable Care Act.
At the time that the ACA was being drafted, some Catholic organizations opposed key elements of the measure. Once it became law, more than 40 lawsuits were filed to challenge the subsequent Department of Health and Human Service’s mandate requiring that insurance plans include coverage for artificial birth control, sterilization and drugs that lead to abortions.
Sister Keehan is quick to point out that the health care legislation signed into law seven years ago is far from perfect, but she says it was an “incredible step forward.”
“I do recognize the political conflict and the imperfections in the bill, but when you can make insurance that much better for people who have it and give 20 million Americans insurance, that is a huge step forward,” she said March 21 in her Washington office.
At a 2015 Catholic Health Association gathering in Washington, President Barack Obama thanked Sister Keehan for her steadiness, strength and “steadfast voice.”
“We would not have gotten the Affordable Care Act done had it not been for her,” he said.
The immediate repeal and replacement of the ACA was a key promise of President Donald Trump’s campaign, but the GOP health care measure has faced opposition from both conservative and moderate Republicans. Trump told House Republicans that he will leave ACA in place and move on to tax reform if they do not support the new health care legislation.
Watching the GOP efforts to repeal and replace the ACA has been hard for Sister Keehan mainly because she and other health care leaders were not consulted in the process.
“We should never, ever throw together a bill that’s going to be such a profound impact on the people of this country in this short of time and without any input from those who care for them,” she said.
The work on these two health care bills couldn’t have been more different, she pointed out, noting that prior to the ACA launch she felt like she “lived in committee rooms” because she was constantly meeting with committees, groups and subgroups at the White House and Congress.
With the GOP health care plan, she said there wasn’t any opportunity for hospital groups or the American Medical Association to give any advice.
“We’ve just been dismissed,” she said, noting that she attended a few small group meetings on Capitol Hill but “they were not meetings to get our input on what ought to be done with the bill but meetings to tell us what was going to be done.”
“This has just been railroaded through Congress,” she added.
While the U.S. bishops have applauded pro-life elements of the American Health Care Act, they also have criticized other elements and expressed concern for its impact on the disadvantaged.
In a March 17 letter to House members about the GOP measure, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said the inclusion of “critical life protections” in the House health care bill is laudable, but other provisions, including those related to Medicaid and tax credits are “troubling” and “must be addressed.”
He said the bill’s restriction of funds to providers that promote abortion and prohibiting federal funding for abortion or the purchase of plans that provide abortion “honors a key moral requirement for our nation’s health care policy.” But he also criticized the absence of “any changes” from the current law regarding conscience protections against mandates to provide certain coverage or services considered morally objectionable by employers and health care providers.
“The ACA is, by no means, a perfect law,” Bishop Dewane said. “The Catholic bishops of the United States registered serious objections at the time of its passage. However, in attempting to improve the deficiencies of the ACA, health care policy ought not create other unacceptable problems, particularly for those who struggle on the margins of our society.”
Main provisions of the new House bill include: eliminating the mandate that most individuals have health insurance and putting in its place a new system of tax credits; expanding Health Savings Accounts; repealing Medicaid expansion and transitioning to a “per capita allotment”; and prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage or charging more money to patients based on pre-existing conditions.
Sister Keehan said she thanked Bishop Dewane for his letter to Congress and said the bishops had carefully gone through the legislation measure by measure on a number of issues. She also noted that she knows people in the pro-life community either think the new bill is strong enough or not doing enough.
As she sees it, the bill is “a pro-life disaster in the fact that when you take health care away from people, you take life.”
“If you want to really, really strengthen the pro-life culture in this country, you make sure people know that their lives and the lives of their children are so valued by our country,” she said, which means providing quality maternity and pediatric care and offering programs like Head Start and food stamps.
Although she said under the ACA no federal funds could be spent on abortion, a nonpartisan government agency in an assessment of the law in 2014 said abortion coverage was available in some plans. Sister Keehan also said the law included help for pregnant mothers to get drug rehabilitation, housing and maternity care, which are not included in the new bill.
“I don’t find this a pro-life bill at all from every perspective,” she added about the new measure.
When asked if there was a silver lining with people at least talking about the need to provide insurance for all Americans, Sister Keehan said the health care crisis for so many people doesn’t give “the luxury of time.”
“To be the only industrialized nation in the world that does not guarantee all its citizens health care is a disgrace,” she said, adding: “We are at a real crossroads in our country’s sense of its responsibility to its people.”
Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON — The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace met with the country’s top diplomat, Rex Tillerson, March 23, for a policy-packed 35-minute conversation about immigration, the Middle East, Africa and the role of the Catholic Church’s efforts toward building “the common good.”
“After some small talk about Texas,” the two spoke about the Middle East, about Iraq and Syria, reaching out to Central America and Mexico, and the situation in Africa, said Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, explaining his initial meeting in Washington with Tillerson, the U.S. secretary of state, who, like Bishop Cantu, hails from Texas.
Bishop Cantu said the meeting was about letting Tillerson know “that our only motive is to help build the common good, that we don’t have ulterior motives,” and explaining the bishops’ peace and justice committee’s work in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Far East.
Bishop Cantu, as the chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, has spoken for a two-state solution in the Israel-Palestine conflict, against the construction of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories, for reducing the United States’ nuclear arsenal, and raised concerns about an executive order that targets refugees from some countries with predominantly Muslim populations, which are at odds with stances taken early by the Donald Trump administration.
“I have concerns,” he said in an interview with Catholic News Service, but said the meeting with Tillerson was about establishing a relationship that can help the church advocate for policy issues to help the common good.
“We bring a unique perspective,” said Bishop Cantu. “One of our principles in Catholic social teaching is the common good and that goes beyond our own church needs.”
Bishop Cantu said he talked about the church’s efforts in Congo and South Sudan and the need for stability in such places. U.N. agencies said in February that famine and war in the area are threatening up to 5.5 million lives in the region.
Because of the church’s humanitarian agencies, its solidarity visits, and long-term contact with local governments and populations around the world, the church lends a credible voice, Bishop Cantu said.
“He expressed that he was eager to have open lines of communication with us and to listen to our perspective on things,” Bishop Cantu said.
“The two areas we especially touched on were the Middle East and how to rebuild in Iraq and Syria. And the second topic that he wanted to hear our perspective on is the immigration issue, particularly how to reach out to Central America and Mexico,” said Bishop Cantu.
He said he emphasized to Tillerson the importance of having countries where religious minorities have a say in the government and of investing in rebuilding countries. The proposed Trump administration budget has been criticized for its plans to slash funding for the State Department up to 28 percent, or $10.9 billion. The cuts would greatly affect the department’s Food for Peace Program, which reduces hunger and malnutrition in poor countries, while proposing a $54 billion, or 10 percent, increase in military spending.
Bishop Cantu said he left information with Tillerson about the church’s concerns with the proposed budget.
“We’re concerned about the very steep increase in the military budget, the cutting back on foreign aid, we’re very concerned about that. I did want to emphasize how important development is in regions that need to be stabilized,” he said, “that those are wise investments of time and funds.”
The meeting also included a discussion about Christians in the Middle East, Bishop Cantu said, “and that Christians don’t want to live in a ghetto. … They believe it’s important that they live in an integrated society that is safe and secure,” to have a voice in local, regional as well federal government. He said he also emphasized “the fact that the (Catholic) church in the Middle East can act as a voice between the Sunnis and the Shia” and the importance of the church remaining in places such as Iraq and Syria.
“Any wise government official wants to listen to the voice of people who have a stake in different areas and to listen to the wisdom of experience,” Bishop Cantu said. “We have our brothers and sisters there, the church, who do live there. The fact is that … we bring a trusted voice.
“We bring some wisdom to the conversation,” he added. “Our vision is to build a society that’s stable, that’s just, that’s peaceful, and ultimately, that’s the goal of the state department … and so I think that’s why our voice is valuable to them.”
Follow Guidos on Twitter: @CNS_Rhina.
BRANDYWINE HUNDRED – Salesianum brought its veteran volleyball team to Brandywine on March 23, to meet the host Bulldogs, whose program is in its first season. The Sals shook off a tough challenge from the newcomers in the first set and won going away in three sets. It was the Sals’s 18th consecutive win over the past two seasons.
Salesianum (1-0) entered this season with a 60-6-1 record over the past three years, including a 17-0 record and the New Castle County championship last season, when they dropped just two sets. But that didn’t seem to matter in the early going to Brandywine, who defeated Mount Pleasant on the road earlier in the week in the team’s inaugural match. Read more »
For The Dialog
WILMINGTON – Senior Emily Coyle had two hits and four runs batted in to lead the St. Mark’s Spartans to an 8-7 win over the St. Elizabeth Vikings on March 23 at Canby Park. The game was moved from St Mark’s to Canby because of last week’s snowstorm and has resulted in the Spartans playing three games in as many days. Read more »
UNITED NATIONS — The right to clean water is a basic and pressing need for all people of the planet because without water “there is no life,” said the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations.
Addressing a U.N. meeting on water-related issues under the world body’s sustainable development goals March 22, Archbishop Bernardito Auza called on all nations to recognize the responsibility to care for and share water because it is a life-sustaining resource.
The archbishop’s comments came as World Water Day was being observed. The day has been set aside by international agencies and governments to focus attention on the need for universal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in developing countries. Events also focus on advocating for sustainable management of freshwater resources.
WaterAid, a London-based international organization that helps communities access clean water and proper hygiene, said about 633 million people, nearly 10 percent of the world’s population, cannot get the water they need. The group made the comments in a report released March 22.
Archbishop Auza said there is an urgent need to protect and care for the earth, particularly its water supplies.
“Access to safe drinking water is a basic human right and a condition for sustainable development,” Archbishop Auza said. “Thus, it needs to be put front and center in public policy, in particular in programs to life people out of poverty.”
The U.N. nuncio said that competition for water can destabilize nations especially where aquatic resources cross national boundaries. He pointed to water experts and advocates who “ominously predict that the Third World War will be about water.”
Archbishop Auza also cited Pope Francis’ address to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, which he visited in Rome in 2014, advising the staff that “water is not free” and that its protection is vital to prevent war.
“Thus, rather than causing conflict,” the archbishop continued, “the need for water sharing should be an opportunity for cross-border cooperation and greater efforts toward adopting binding instruments to ensure stable and predictable transnational relations.”
He said nongovernmental organizations, joined by each person, must “assume our responsibilities” to preserve clean water for present and future generations to preserve peace and ensure that the earth is “more habitable and fraternal place, where no one is left behind and all are able to eat, drink, live healthy lives and grow in accordance with their dignity.”
Archbishop Auza also noted that an all-day conference being held that day at the Vatican, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Club of Rome. Titled “Watershed: Replenishing Water Values for a Thirsty World,” it drew about 400 policymakers, academics, business leaders and grass-roots advocates.
In a greeting to English speakers at his general audience, Pope Francis welcomed the participants, describing the conference as “yet another stage in the joint commitment of various institutions to raising consciousness about the need to protect water as a treasure belonging to everyone, mindful too of its cultural and religious significance.”
More information about World Water Day is available online at www.worldwaterday.org.
Bishop Malooly released the following statement March 23 on the death of Cardinal William Keeler, the 14th Archbishop of Baltimore:
“I am saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend and mentor, Cardinal Keeler. I served with him in the Archdiocese of Baltimore for 18 years as his vicar general and moderator of the curia. We communicated daily, in person or by phone, for all of those years. He was a model shepherd, brilliant teacher, and tireless advocate for interfaith bonds, the sanctity of life, and Catholic education. He was a thoughtful, considerate, and humble man who will be missed dearly.
“I offer my heart-felt condolences to Cardinal Keeler’s sister, Julia; his niece, Julie; and his extended family. I join with Archbishop Lori, the Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and Cardinal Keeler’s countless friends around the world as we pray that he may enter the joy of his eternal Master to receive the rewards of his labors.”
Bishop Malooly, a native of Baltimore, was ordained to the priesthood in 1970. He has served as parish priest, retreat house administrator, chancellor, vicar general and auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Baltimore until July 7, 2008, when Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Malooly the ninth Bishop of Wilmington. He was installed to that post on Sept. 8, 2008.
• • •
From Catholic News Service:
Cardinal Keeler, retired archbishop of Baltimore, dies at 86
BALTIMORE — Cardinal William H. Keeler, the retired archbishop of Baltimore who was known for his vital role in ecumenical and interreligious relations, died early March 23 at St. Martin’s Home for the Aged in the Baltimore suburb of Catonsville. He was 86.
The Baltimore archdiocese said funeral arrangements were being finalized.
“One of the great blessings in my life was coming to know Cardinal Keeler,” said Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori in a statement. “Cardinal Keeler will be greatly missed. I am grateful to the Little Sisters for their devoted care for the cardinal.”
Cardinal Keeler was the bishop of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, when he was appointed the 14th archbishop of Baltimore in 1989. Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal in 1994. He retired in 2007. As president of the U.S. bishops’ conference from 1992-95, he participated in a wide range of national and international issues.
As part of his work with what is now the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Keeler developed a reputation for effectively building interfaith bonds. He is particularly noted for his work in furthering Catholic-Jewish dialogue. He was appointed moderator of Catholic-Jewish Relations for the USCCB.
Cardinal Keeler’s death leaves the College of Cardinals with 223 members, 17 of whom are from the United States. The College of Cardinals has 117 members under the age of 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave.
Archbishop Lori remarked on “the respect and esteem” in which the late prelate was held by his brother bishops, and praised his leadership in Jewish-Catholic relations and in Orthodox-Catholic relations. Archbishop Lori also said he was known for his “prowess as a church historian” and had a “deep love and respect for the history and heritage of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.”
Cardinal Keeler was an ardent promoter of the Catholic Church’s teaching on the sanctity of all human life. He twice served as chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities and testified at all levels of government on legislation ranging from abortion to euthanasia to capital punishment.
MORE TO COME