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Though snubbed by Women’s March, pro-life groups still participate

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — After being removed from a list of partner organizations for the Women’s March on Washington, members of a pro-life group based in Texas decided they still would take to the streets Jan. 21 to take part in the historic and massive event. And they said it was a good decision.

“Overall, it was an amazing experience,” said Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, of New Wave Feminists, one of the groups removed as a march sponsor.

Mary Solitario, 21, center, a Catholic from Virginia, joins a pro-life demonstration outside the U.S. Supreme Court prior to the Women's March on Washington Jan. 21. (CNS/Bob Roller)

Mary Solitario, 21, center, a Catholic from Virginia, joins a pro-life demonstration outside the U.S. Supreme Court prior to the Women’s March on Washington Jan. 21. (CNS/Bob Roller)

“We were prepared for confrontation and instead were supported by so many women,” said Herndon-De La Rosa told Catholic News Service.

The group posted photos on their Facebook and Instagram accounts of their participation, holding signs that read, “I’m a pro-life feminist.”

“They kept coming up and telling us how glad they were that we were there and how, even though they didn’t necessarily agree on the abortion issue, they thought it wrong that we were removed as partners,” said Herndon-De La Rosa. “It was very cool.”

Women like Herndon-De La Rosa marched for a cause. In her group’s case, they are concerned about President Donald J. Trump’s changing position on abortion and say they wanted him to know they’d be watching what he does on pro-life issues such as abortion, the death penalty and violence.

Others marched to voice disapproval of the new president. Many came from places near and far and after filing past the streets near Washington’s most important institutions, they filled the area near the White House where its newest residents have a direct line of view toward the Washington Monument.

They were hoping the newly minted president would hear or see them and consider what they had to say.

Margie Legowski, a parishioner at Washington’s Holy Trinity Catholic Church, said she took to the streets “in support of values that I don’t see in this administration.” Those values include equality for women and also caring about immigrants who need help.

“I want to take a stand. I don’t want to be passive about it,” she said. “In our faith we’re called to solidarity.”

That means standing up against wealth inequality and defending the vulnerable, she said. It’s a means of building the kingdom of God on earth and she doesn’t see that as a priority for the new president.

Like a lot of women attending the march, she hosted other female friends, nieces and a sister-in-law who lives in Germany, all of whom felt enough conviction to travel to Washington and lend their presence to the numbers of participants.

Jean Johnson, another Holy Trinity parishioner, attended the march with 11 nieces and four grandnieces. They arrived in Washington from around the country, some driving long distances and picking up other family members along the way. She said she felt pride in her large group, particularly because they adopted the values of her Irish Catholic immigrant parents and are concerned about the common good, for women and for others.

She wasn’t marching against a cause or person, but rather marching for women’s dignity, she said.

“I went to a Catholic school where the nuns told me I’m a temple,” she said. “The march is for that dignity.”

She was excited to share that moment with a new generation in her family, she said.

Some women who attended said they didn’t feel president Trump valued that dignity, particularly after a leaked recording was aired during the campaign in which he was heard making lewd comments about women to an entertainment reporter.

Jack Hogan, who once worked for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the U.S. bishops’ domestic anti-poverty program, said he was attending the march with neighbors and friends because he feels that what Trump has said goes against Catholic social teaching. He said he was hoping other Catholics, as organizations and groups, as well as church leaders, would speak up more forcefully for the poor and vulnerable at this time.

He said worries about the new president’s stance on climate change, on the poor and other issues that seem to go against what Pope Francis, as the leader of the Catholic Church, says are important. He said he feels Trump lives and espouses the opposite of what the church values, including family.

As a citizen, “what (Trump) stands for is not what our participatory democracy stands for,” Hogan said, adding that he could not celebrate his inauguration. Ever since Trump was elected, Hogan said he has participated in various protests and prayer events with other organizations because he worries about what will happen to the vulnerable in society. The Women’s March was one of those instances, he said.

While organizers said the event was to “promote women’s equality and defend other marginalized groups,” some pro-life groups that wanted to be partners in the march were either removed as official sponsors days before the march or their application to be a sponsor was ignored.

In an interview before the march, Herndon-De La Rosa told CNS no one contacted her group to give them the news they were taken off a roster of sponsors, but they found out after a flurry of stories about it. The groups And Then There Were None and Students for Life of America also were denied or taken off the Women’s March roster.

However, many members of those organizations attended the march.

 

Follow Guidos on Twitter: @CNS_Rhina.

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New Baltimore auxiliary bishops offer thanks to clergy and families

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Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE — Following their Jan. 19 episcopal ordination Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, new Auxiliary Bishops Adam J. Parker and Mark E. Brennan of Baltimore recalled the litany of the saints, during which they lay prostrate before the altar.

“I felt a lot of joy and a tremendous hope for what is to come in the future, and for the future of ministry in the Archdiocese of Baltimore,” Bishop Parker said as he was whisked to the post-Mass reception.

Auxiliary Bishops Mark E. Brennan and Adam J. Parker hold the apostolic mandates naming them bishops of the Archdiocese of Baltimore during their Jan. 19 ordination Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. (CNS photo/Kevin J. Parks, Catholic Review)

Auxiliary Bishops Mark E. Brennan and Adam J. Parker hold the apostolic mandates naming them bishops of the Archdiocese of Baltimore during their Jan. 19 ordination Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. (CNS photo/Kevin J. Parks, Catholic Review)

“I was praying along with the litany,” Bishop Brennan said with a grin while obliging the camera-wielding faithful who had momentarily cornered him and his priest handler. “Lord, have mercy on me. Lord, hear my prayer.”

Close to 2,000 gathered in the cathedral on an unusually sunny and mild January afternoon to witness and take part in the ceremony, led by principal celebrant and consecrator Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori.

The archbishop was joined by co-consecrators Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, where Bishop Brennan served as a parish priest before his elevation to the episcopacy; and Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher and former archbishop Baltimore, whom Bishop Parker had served as priest-secretary from 2007 to 2013.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York concelebrated the Mass; he was rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome while Bishop Parker studied there from 1995 to 2001. Bishop Brennan also studied at that college, from 1970 to 1974.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the U.S., read the mandates from Pope Francis authorizing the ordinations, and drew laughter from the pews when he opted to begin with “the older one,” Bishop Brennan, who is 69. Bishop Parker is 45.

Archbishop Lori also broached the age topic, referring in his homily to the first reading, which was from Jeremiah and read by Sister Maria Luz Ortiz of the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart. In it God steamrolls the young prophet’s fretting: “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak.”

“So, Bishop Brennan, let no one take advantage of your youth and inexperience,” the archbishop quipped, adding on a more serious note: “After all, you know, Bishop Brennan and I, we’ve been in priestly ministry a little over 40 years -– we go way back.”

Archbishop Lori shared some insight on the role of bishops.

“The greatest challenge in being a bishop is not administration; it’s not public relations; and it’s not fundraising,” he said. “The greatest challenge is to be always and everywhere an example for God’s people. This is how we become witnesses of hope; this is how we strive to be authentic shepherds.”

He exhorted Bishop Parker and Bishop Brennan to teach the faith “not as words to be followed but as words of spirit and life that transform us from the inside out and make us bearers of the peace of Christ in a world that is broken, a nation that is divided, and in communities that are in need of healing.”

After promising to uphold the faith and fulfill their duties, and after lying prostrate before the altar, Bishop Parker kneeled in reverence as Archbishop Lori laid his hands on his head, a sign of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, followed by Cardinal Wuerl and Cardinal O’Brien.

The archbishop and the two co-consecrators did the same for Bishop Brennan; then the other bishops present laid their hands on both men.

Ending the rite of ordination, Archbishop Lori anointed Bishop Parker and Bishop Brennan with holy chrism and presented each with his Book of the Gospels, episcopal ring, crosier and miter.

“This is the day the Lord has made,” Bishop Parker said in his remarks at the end of Mass. “Let us rejoice and be glad.”

He thanked “the Lord for calling me to the priesthood and now giving me its fullness” as well as the people of the Baltimore Archdiocese for their prayers and “profound encouragement.”

He thanked Archbishop Lori for ordaining him and Cardinal O’Brien for his guidance and friendship. “You have changed my priesthood forever,” Bishop Parker told the cardinal.

Finally, he thanked his mother, Maureen Parker, who sat in the front row and was first to receive Communion from the new bishop.

“It was from you and Dad I first heard about Jesus Christ,” Bishop Parker told her, also acknowledging his father, George Parker, who died in 2012. “To you I owe gratitude for my life and my faith.”

Bishop Brennan thanked those who came before him in the succession begun with the Apostles.

“We stand today, all of us here, on the shoulders of giants,” he said.

He also acknowledged his parents, both deceased, who had taken him and his brother, Paul, who was present, to Mass and confession.

“They grounded us in the Catholic faith in a very simple and unpretentious way,” he said.

Bishop Brennan also noted that his elevation to the episcopacy was not the first unexpected change in his ministry. He said in the Washington archdiocese, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, then the archbishop there, “sent me from a nice little parish in Northwest Washington … to a huge, multicultural parish, St. Martin of Tours” in suburban Maryland. “It opened me up ever more to serving people who speak differently and look differently than I do.”

He also delivered remarks in Spanish and French, primary languages of the immigrants he served at St. Martin.

Archbishop Lori reflected on his first time ordaining bishops.

“It was a very moving experience,” he told the Catholic Review, the archdiocesan news outlet. “As the ceremony unfolded, it just took on a life of its own thanks to the Holy Spirit.”

Thinking of all the people in the Baltimore Archdiocese thankful for two new leaders to share the work, he said, “I’m at the top of that list.”

— By Eric Zygmont

Zygmont is on the staff of the Catholic Review, the website and magazine of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. George P. Matysek Jr. contributed to this story.

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Pope Francis offers prayers for President Trump

January 20th, 2017 Posted in Featured, National News Tags: , ,

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VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis sent best wishes and prayers to incoming President Donald J. Trump shortly after he took the oath of office.

“I offer you my cordial good wishes and the assurance of my prayers that almighty God will grant you wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high office,” the pope’s message said.

U.S Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump stand for the singing of the national anthem after Trump's swearing-in as the country's 45th president at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters)

U.S Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump stand for the singing of the national anthem after Trump’s swearing-in as the country’s 45th president at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters)

Saying that the human family faces “grave humanitarian crises” that demand “far-sighted and united political responses,” the pope said he would pray that Trump’s decisions “will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that have the history of the American people and your nation’s commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide.”

 The pope also said he hoped that America’s “stature” continued to be measured by “above all its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door.”

The message concluded with the pope saying he would ask God to grant the new president, his family and all Americans “peace, concord and every material and spiritual prosperity.”

 

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

By

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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TV Review: HBO’s ‘The Young Pope’ is cartoonish and offensive

January 20th, 2017 Posted in Movies, National News Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

Behind the opening credits of “The Young Pope,” a naked baby boy crawls over a sea of infant mannequins, and a man dressed as the Roman pontiff emerges at the other end.

As bizarre as that may sound, the controversial, provocative new miniseries from pay-cable channel HBO only gets stranger from there.

Jude Law stars in a scene from the HBO television drama series "The Young Pope." (CNS photo/HBO)

Jude Law stars in a scene from the HBO television drama series “The Young Pope.” (CNS photo/HBO)

The 10-episode program premiered Sunday, Jan. 15, and will air Sundays and Mondays through Feb. 13, 9-10 p.m. each night.

As viewers might expect from an HBO presentation, “The Young Pope” contains strong, often gratuitous sexual content, nudity and profanity. As such, it’s exclusively suitable for a restricted adult audience, all the more so since these elements are mixed in with subject matter sacred to Catholics.

Perhaps best known for his Academy Award-winning 2013 film, “The Great Beauty,” Italian director Paolo Sorrentino helms the series, for which he was also the principal writer.

In the opening episode, a papal conclave delivers a surprising outcome as the 47-year-old archbishop of New York, Cardinal Lenny Belardo (Jude Law) becomes Pope Pius XIII, the first American pontiff. Mistakenly believing he would be able to dictate policy to this inexperienced newcomer, Cardinal Voiello (Silvio Orlando), the Vatican’s secretary of state, manipulated the vote in Belardo’s favor.

Pius immediately signals that he’s going to be his own man, however and a different kind of pope as well. He does so most dramatically by his choice of a nun to serve as his chief adviser.

Having lost his parents at age 7, Lenny grew up in an orphanage at which Sister Mary (Diane Keaton) worked. There, she raised him and another boy, the future Cardinal Dussolier (Scott Shepherd), as her sons. Now, Pius helicopters her into the Vatican so he can rely on her for guidance.

This back story is implausible in two respects. American children growing up without parents in the 1970s wouldn’t be sent to orphanages; they would be placed in foster care. Sister Mary’s religious order, moreover, wouldn’t have permitted her to raise children as though they were her own.

Pius also signals a new direction when he delivers his first address to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square. Visible only in silhouette, he declares, “I am closer to God than I am to you, and, if you want to see me, go see God first.” When someone shines a green laser light in his face, he snaps, “How dare you shine a light in your pope’s face?”

Playing on the fact that many younger Catholics, including priests, tend to be conservative, idealizing the church before the Second Vatican Council, Sorrentino has crafted a simplistic caricature of them, a stick figure wholly lacking in subtlety, albeit a self-contradictory, even paradoxical, one. Pius is the anti-Francis, yearning for the restoration of items like the papal tiara and the “sedia gestatoria,” a portable throne on a platform carried by a group of attendants that was last used in 1978.

Pius’ theology is equally unsympathetic. Evangelization? “Been there. Done that,” he remarks.

“And reaching out to others? Time for that to stop.”

This is also a pope who can’t function without Diet Cherry Coke Zero, coffee and cigarettes. Petulant and vindictive, he makes a mockery of confession by declaring, “I don’t have any sins to confess… My conscience doesn’t accuse me of anything.” The protagonist of “The Young Pope” is, in brief, a jerk.

As irksome as many Catholics will find all of the foregoing, Sorrentino ups the ante to the level of outrage with a dream sequence in which Pius urges an adulating throng to have abortions, promote euthanasia and enjoy free love. If that’s somehow meant to be thought-provoking, it registers instead as patently and pointlessly offensive.

Saddled with a cartoonish view of the church, and driven by the urge to be edgy, “The Young Pope” repels more than it engages.

 

By Chris Byrd, a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.

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Speakers: Aim for truth with love to help those with same-sex attraction

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Catholic News Service

PHOENIX — For Courage member Daniel Mattson, the intersection of his life with the gay rights movement caused “all hell to break loose.”

“I willfully turned my back on God,” he said, “and took the forbidden fruit.”

With the love and support of his brother, Father Steve Mattson, he left behind his homosexual lifestyle and found that the “good news is chastity. It has brought me peace and tremendous freedom.”

Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute, talks to an audience Jan. 10 about the sexual revolution in the 1960s and'70s that she said has led to negative consequences for men and women. Morse was a speaker at the "Truth and Love Conference" at St. Paul Parish in Phoenix. (CNS photo/Tony Gutierrez, Catholic Sun) See COURAGE-CONFERENCE Jan. 19, 2017.

Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute, talks to an audience Jan. 10 about the sexual revolution in the 1960s and’70s that she said has led to negative consequences for men and women. Morse was a speaker at the “Truth and Love Conference” at St. Paul Parish in Phoenix. (CNS photo/Tony Gutierrez, Catholic Sun) See COURAGE-CONFERENCE Jan. 19, 2017.

The brothers were part of a panel of faith and human science leaders that gave presentations at the Courage International “Truth and Love Conference” at St. Paul Parish Jan. 9-11.

Father Mattson conceded his discussions with his brother felt more like “apologetic Whac-A-Mole,” but he knew he had to faithfully speak on the Gospel call to chastity and authentic love.

“The church is obsessed with love, true love. We don’t want to offend unnecessarily … but if we don’t offend, we can’t share the truth,” Father Mattson said. “When we’re not talking, they have a steady diet from the culture and not from us.”

Sponsored by the Diocese of Phoenix and Courage International, more than 200 clergy, religious and laypeople heard practical and pastoral advice on sharing the Catholic Church’s teaching to men and women with same-sex attraction at the three-day conference.

The theme of “welcoming and accompanying our brothers and sisters with same-sex attractions or confusion regarding sexual identity” was clear to state human beings should not be categorized by their sexual inclination, but rather as a “child of God.”

Keynoter Father Philip Bochanski, Courage’s executive director, said the apostolate is a confidential, spiritual support system for people with SSA who desire to live a chaste life, which everyone is called to, through five goals: chastity, prayer and dedication, fellowship, support and good examples.

“We need to speak honestly about sin but speak how Jesus did with the woman at the well — with compassion,” Father Bochanski said Jan. 10. “People with same-sex attraction want to know where they fit in in the church. We help people to gently know who they are so we can show them who they can become. We’re in the hope business.”

Bishop James S. Wall of Gallup, New Mexico, was involved with Courage as pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Phoenix.

The bishop said he came in support of the conference because of the value of addressing “God’s gift of human sexuality” grounded in Christian understanding of the human person.

“Some people can feel alone or on an island. We can support them by loving and accompanying them, walking with them to a genuine and authentic encounter with Jesus Christ and his church,” he said, adding, “We need to speak the truth to them, always in charity.”

Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute, discussed “Understanding the Sexual Revolution” by stating that the “heartache was airbrushed out” of the glamorized excitement of sexual freedom. Heartache has included children of divorce, post-abortive women and men, pornography addiction and gay lifestyles. She called Blessed Paul VI a “prophetic voice” when he wrote his 1968 encyclical, “Humanae Vitae,” on the moral degradation contraception and abortion could pose.

Morse is an author and speaker who specializes in the area of marriage and family and who played a prominent role defending traditional marriage in California’s Proposition 8 ballot campaign in 2008 to define marriage as between one man and one woman. She said the “contraceptive ideology” has led to the family breakdown. (Voters approved Proposition 8 but it was overturned by the courts; the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 ruled that same-sex marriage was legal.)

“The sexual revolution is just as great of a spiritual and political crisis as the Arian crisis, but we can make a difference. Never underestimate what you can do in your personal relationships,” she said. Morse was referring to the Arian heresy denying Jesus’ divinity.

Patty Juarvic from Portland, Oregon, attended her first conference on behalf of her daughter. She also is a member of the apostolate’s counterpart for family and friends, EnCourage.

Juarvic explained how she took a photo of the priests on the altar during Mass to send to her daughter back home.

“I’m going to say, ‘Look at all the priests that are here to learn how to minister to their parishioners who are SSA (same-sex attracted). I have learned you are in no way thought of as a second-class citizen,’” she told The Catholic Sun, newspaper of the Phoenix Diocese. “They love her and they want to know how to pastorally care for her. She’s part of the fold.”

For Daniel Mattson, who also is featured in the documentary “Desire of the Everlasting Hills,” he learned who he is by being in healthy, loving and chaste relationships with others. The film focused on two men and one woman sharing what it is like to be a Catholic who experiences same-sex attraction and chooses to life chaste lives in accord with Catholic teaching.

“I have begun to see all of my life through the lens of God … who brought out the greater good,” Daniel said. “He knew I wouldn’t know how much I would need Him if I didn’t suffer. When I feel lonely or have sorrow I can offer it up, and there is joy in uniting it to the sacrifice in the Lord’s cross.”

By Gina Keating, who writes for The Catholic Sun, newspaper of the Diocese of Phoenix.

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January 16th, 2017 Posted in Featured, National News

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"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." -- The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The nation honors the legacy of Rev. King, the slain civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, with a national holiday, observed Jan. 16 this year. (CNS/Joe Heller)

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The nation honors the legacy of Rev. King, the slain civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, with a national holiday, observed Jan. 16 this year. (CNS/Joe Heller)

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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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Catholic panelists discuss ‘Faithful Priorities in a Time of Trump’

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — Catholic panelists gathered to discuss “Faithful Priorities in a Time of Trump” said it is difficult to get over some of the words the president-elect said during the campaign, and even before he was a candidate. But as his presidency nears, many of them said it’s important to find ways to work with him for the common good.

“When Donald Trump says things about women … I have a hard time stomaching those comments,” said Msgr. John Enzler, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. “We can still find a way, though, to listen and say, ‘How do we find common ground?’”

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks Jan. 11 during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York City. (CNS /Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks Jan. 11 during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York City. (CNS /Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Msgr. Enzler was one of five panelists Jan. 12 who addressed the role the Catholic faith can play as the country gets ready for the incoming Trump administration. Some Catholics such as Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Florida, expressed great optimism.

“We can have a lot of hope that he will protect life the way we want him to do … defunding Planned Parenthood, protecting life,” Rooney said. “Things like the insurance mandate can be brought into harmony of First Amendment rights.”

Yet others such as panelist Jessica Chilin Hernandez expressed uncertainty and apprehension of the days ahead. Chilin works at Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, thanks to a work permit she has through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA. President Barack Obama, through executive action in 2012, created a policy that allows certain undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children to have a work permit and be exempt from deportation.

Chilin is one of more than 750,000 people who signed up for DACA. During the campaign, Trump said he would kill the program and threatened mass deportations, sending those like Chilin into panic.

“I felt a fear unlike any other fear I have had before,” she said about the moment she learned Trump won the election. “The fear was visceral. … one thought that occupied my mind was that homeland security knows exactly where I live. It was hard to imagine myself having a future in 2017.”

Joan Rosenhauer, executive vice president of U.S. Operations for Catholic Relief Services, said now is a good time to review the principles of Catholicism and social justice, explaining that they don’t divide people and don’t say refugees or immigrants are enemies or a burden on society.

“What we have to do is lift up our principles,” Rosenhauer said. “The problem is deeper because our own Catholic people do not know those principles.”

Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobbying organization, said the country is showing a high level of ambiguity, fear, dysfunction and chaos.

“I think that challenges all of us as people of faith,” she said.

Now is the time to stand up for the stranger, the working poor, and anyone who needs of our kindness or help, and Catholic social teaching has a lot to say about it, Sister Campbell said.

Msgr. Enzler noted it is also important to understand that individuals can do much by performing kind actions toward others. People can start by asking: “What did I do today? It’s not an agency that can make things better but people,” he said.

Chilin said it’s important to keep in mind language that we use in daily conversation.

“Be conscientious of language,” she said. “Illegal is a racial slur. No human being is illegal and yet, in many circles, they use it to describe us.”

Panel moderator John Carr, director of Georgetown University’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, which sponsored the event, asked how Catholics can build bridges in “an angry country, a divided country.” There are a lot of people who feel under attack, he said.

“It’s important to see what role (Catholics) can play in divisions that have been created over the past year,” Rosenhauer said. “I was really struck by Cardinal (Joseph) Tobin and his homily at his installation where one of his key points was that our kindness must be known to all.”

It’s important to stand up for beliefs even when others disagree with them, she said, “but we have to find a way to do it with kindness.”

“We want to protect children in the womb. That’s something we can work with this (the Trump) administration and Congress on. … Senator (Jeff) Sessions said there would be no Muslim ban. That’s something we would support and work together on … then let’s be clear about the areas for disagreements.”

Msgr. Enzler said Catholics, particularly the church’s leaders, must also speak and raise their voices for the vulnerable, and strongly speak the church’s message.

Moderator Carr asked Sister Campbell whether she could offer any lessons about building bridges that she learned during the Nuns on the Bus tour last summer, a 19-day trip that a group of women religious undertook from Wisconsin to the national political conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia. Its aim was to learn what people around the country were thinking about just before the presidential election.

Sister Campbell used the bus as a metaphor for the country. Some said the bus had made them feel as if they were welcome back into a community, a feeling they had not had in a long time, because everyone was welcome on the bus. She said she heard stories about poverty, lack of jobs and lack of access to health care that resulted in the deaths of loved ones.

“No one can be left out of our care,” Sister Campbell said. “We are a nation of problem-solvers, but we have sunk into extreme individualism.”

As Pope Francis has said, it’s about the people, and when people feel loved, they flourish and when they flourish so does the country, she said.

 

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Paralyzed NYPD officer who spoke of forgiveness dies at 59

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NEW YORK — Detective Steven McDonald, the New York City police officer who was paralyzed after being shot in the line of duty 30 years ago and famously forgave his teenage assailant and went on to became a prophetic voice for forgiveness and reconciliation, died Jan. 10. He was 59.

A New York police spokesman confirmed that McDonald, who was Catholic, had died at a Long Island hospital four days after suffering a heart attack.

Detective Steven McDonald of the New York Police Department, who was shot and paralyzed in the line of duty in 1986, smiles as he is greeted by then Cardinal Edward M. Egan of New York in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City during the St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2013. McDonald died Jan. 10 at a Long Island hospital at age 59. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Detective Steven McDonald of the New York Police Department, who was shot and paralyzed in the line of duty in 1986, smiles as he is greeted by then Cardinal Edward M. Egan of New York in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 2013. McDonald died Jan. 10 at a Long Island hospital at age 59. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York called McDonald “a prophet, without speaking, of the pro-life cause.”

“He showed us,” the cardinal said, “that the value of life doesn’t depend on physical ability, but on one’s heart and soul, both of which he had in abundance.”

The cardinal told Catholic New York, newspaper of the New York archdiocese, that he had visited McDonald in the hospita’s intensive care unit and said that the many rosaries and religious statues there represented outward signs of a Catholic faith the detective dearly practiced.

“You could see that he was such a fervent Catholic,” Cardinal Dolan said.

McDonald often discussed his Catholic faith and the reason he forgave the teenage shooter, explaining that he believed what happened to him was God’s will and that he was meant to become a messenger for God’s message of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation in the world.

While on patrol July 12, 1986, McDonald came upon three teenagers in Central Park and stopped to frisk them because he thought one of them had a weapon in his sock. One of the youths, then-15-year-old Shavod Jones, pulled out a weapon of his own and shot McDonald, leaving him for dead as the trio fled.

Three bullets struck McDonald, including one that pierced his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed.

Doctors initially told McDonald’s wife, Patti, who was three months pregnant with the couple’s son, that the officer would not survive. However, McDonald pulled through. At the baptism of the son, Conor, March 1, 1987, McDonald asked his wife to read a statement about his feeling toward the shooter, saying “I forgive him and hope he can find a purpose in his life.”

McDonald remained on the police department payroll after being shot and later was named a detective.

McDonald long hoped that he and Jones could team up to speak about reconciliation. They corresponded while Jones served a 10-year sentence for attempted murder, but the correspondence ended when McDonald declined a request from Jones’ family for help in seeking parole, saying he was not knowledgeable enough or capable to intervene. Jones died in a 1995 motorcycle accident shortly after being released from prison on parole.

For years after the shooting, McDonald drew widespread attention and media coverage. He met with St. John Paul II in 1995 and with South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. Although he was able to breathe only with the help of a respirator, McDonald crossed the country speaking at schools and other venues about the importance of forgiveness and peace. He also became an advocate for peace in troubled lands, visiting Northern Ireland, Israel and Bosnia to take his message to communities in conflict.

Conor McDonald eventually joined the NYPD and became a sergeant in 2016. He is the fourth generation of the family to serve in the department.

McDonald was born March 1, 1957, in Queens Village, New York, and grew up in Rockville Centre on Long Island. He was one of eight children of David and Anita McDonald.

      A funeral Mass was scheduled for Jan. 13 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City with Cardinal Dolan presiding.

      – – –

      Contributing to this report was Catholic New York, newspaper of the Archdiocese of New York.

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