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From: The site of the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
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A Mass of Christian Burial for Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Joan Pfeiffer was celebrated Feb. 24 in St. Julie Chapel at Mount Notre Dame Convent in Reading. Sister Joan, 80, died Feb. 19. A native of Dayton, she … Continue reading → 5 hours 53 min
A Mass of Christian Burial for Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Ruth Ann Bange was celebrated Feb. 12 in the St. Julie Chapel at Mount Notre Dame Convent in Reading. Sister Ruth Ann, 88, died Feb. 8. A native … Continue reading → 5 hours 53 min
Staff Report The bishops of the Catholic church have no shortage of important duties in running the administrative and pastoral affairs of their dioceses. That said, bishops still administer the sacraments and sometimes the tools they use to do so … Continue reading → 5 hours 53 min
By John Stegeman The Catholic Telegraph In the year 2000, the United States declared the measles virus eradicated from the country. In 2015, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 140 people from 17 states have … Continue reading → 5 hours 53 min
Staff Report When area Catholics gather to remember the sorrowful passion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday, they will be contributing to an effort that helps Christians and holy places in the Middle East. Pope Francis, following the example of … Continue reading → 5 hours 53 min
Staff Report Despite trailing most of the Division III boys state semifinal basketball game, the Chaminade Julienne Eagles mounted a 15-2 run in the fourth quarter to get within three points of Lima Central Catholic, but the Thunderbirds managed to … Continue reading → 5 hours 53 min
By Carol Zimmermann Catholic News Service  WASHINGTON — U.S. millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, don’t want to be pigeonholed into categories. They are predominantly religiously unaffiliated and not identified by any political party. They are more ethnically and racially … Continue reading → 5 hours 53 min
A Mass of Christian Burial for Precious Blood Sister Margaret Mary Rigdon was held at the Salem Heights Chapel in Dayton March 18. Sister Margaret Mary, 94, died at the Maria Joseph Center in Dayton March 14. She had been … Continue reading → 5 hours 53 min
A Mass of Christian Burial for Sister of Mercy Ruth Nastold was celebrated Feb. 23 at St. Francis Xavier Church in Cincinnati. Sister Ruth, 84, died Feb. 17. She was a member of the Sisters of Mercy for 64 years. … Continue reading → 5 hours 53 min
A Mass of Christian Burial for Franciscan Sister of the Poor Maria Klosterman was celebrated on March 14 in St. Clare Convent Chapel in Cincinnati. Sister Maria, 75, a native of Celina, died on March 9, 2015, in Cincinnati. During … Continue reading → 5 hours 53 min

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Photo by Fr. Kyle Schinppel.

Photo by Fr. Kyle Schinppel.

Archdiocese of Cincinnati priest Fr. Kyle Schnippel snapped this photo yesterday, Palm Sunday. Follow him on Instagram at “frschnippel.”

You can see all our 1000 Words photos at once: Click on “1000 Words” in the menu at the top of the page, or click here. To submit a photo, send it to TheCatholicBeat@gmail.com.

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7 hours 48 min
Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the Germanwings crash at his Palm Sunday Angelus address. Photo copyright AFP.

Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the Germanwings crash at his Palm Sunday Angelus address. Photo copyright AFP.

Pope Francis prays for the dead of the Germanwings disaster after Angelus on Palm Sunday. Earlier in the day, at Mass, he reminded all to pray for persecuted Christians around the world.

Read about it here. Photo © AFP, via Vatican Radio.

You can see all our 1000 Words photos at once: Click on “1000 Words” in the menu at the top of the page, or click here. For all our Sunday photos, click here.

To submit a photo, send it to TheCatholicBeat@gmail.com.

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23 hours 24 min
Upperclassmen at McNicholas High School (Mt. Washington/Cincinnati) welcome freshman with applause on the first day of school. The Cincinnati Enquirer disagrees with a new teacher contract for the Archdiocese's 113 schools.

Upperclassmen at McNicholas High School (Mt. Washington/Cincinnati) welcome freshman with applause on the first day of school. The Cincinnati Enquirer disagrees with a new teacher contract for the Archdiocese’s 113 schools.

A shorter version of the following letter from St. Agnes parishioner Tim McHugh was published in the Cincinnati Enquirer March 27th as “Butt Out of Archdiocese’s Business.” Reproduced with permission.

I found the March 22 Enquirer editorial, “Contract still more Big Brother, less Pope Francis,” alarming and bombastic for many reasons. First, what business is it of The Enquirer whether Catholic schools require that their employees not actively oppose Catholic teaching?

Teachers ministering and shaping the future of our children certainly ought to be held to a high standard. There would be outrage if the media started questioning the right of Jewish, Muslim, Mormon or other schools or institutions to require that their teachers or leaders not oppose the fundamentals of their faith. Perhaps that’s the price Catholic schools pay for being so successful that parents of different faiths choose to enroll their children to take advantage of the great education. But the whole point is that it is supposed to be a Catholic education, not something else. What concern is that of The Enquirer and why is it worth of a full-page front of the section slam?

The very headline is misleading. How can a contract be more like Pope Francis? This is a legal employment contract, which unfortunately in this day and age is required to prevent lawsuits. It’s not a press release, marketing material, sermon or mission statement. To compare such an administrative necessity to the wonderful message of Pope Francis is disingenuous and ignores the same local message coming from Catholic charities, schools, ministries, and outreach to the poor and sick.

The Enquirer claims the contract “forces teachers to dance a ridiculously fine line when discussing things such as gay rights and gay marriage in class, outside school and in private.” On the contrary, teachers who adhere to church teaching when discussing any “controversial” topic won’t go wrong. That’s what parents sending kids to Catholic schools expect.

It is wrong for The Enquirer to frame the contract as “a choice forced upon them by an archdiocese more intent on holding the line in a culture war than preserving human dignity and understanding.” Preserving human dignity and understanding are fundamental ideals for Catholic schools. The Enquirer and popular media are not the sole arbiter of these ideals. Please see the First Amendment of the Constitution.

It is ridiculous for The Enquirer to claim, “Students also face real consequences as they see their role models gagged, and their identities squelched as immoral.” No one is asking a teacher to be perfect. We are all sinners. The contract does not require teachers to be saints. The contract does not target one’s identity, but rather one’s behavior. After all, it was Catholic philosopher Saint Augustine who wrote in 424 what has come to be known as “love the sinner but hate the sin.” It is fair that Catholic schools expect their teachers not appear on the next reality TV show filmed in Cincinnati.

The Enquirer states “The Catholic Church is an inherently conservative organization.” Although this is a mischaracterization of a church that also opposes the death penalty; supports immigration reform and health care for all; advocates for social and economic justice; and ministers in prisons; The Enquirer shifts its focus from an employment contract to attacking the actual Church teachings. It becomes clear that The Enquirer is not finding fault with the contract supporting church teachings as much as it is attacking the church teachings themselves. This being the case, where does it stop? “Moral questions” on various topics are sure to arise in the future as the influence of secular society encroaches on the personal sanctity of faith. Certainly the church is entitled to the same protection from such attack on its core principles under the First Amendment as is The Enquirer.

The Enquirer also highlights the Diocese of Oakland teacher contract as an example of a “dramatically toned-down clause that did much to reassure teachers that the archdiocese wouldn’t spy with the intent to fire.” The only difference between the two clauses printed in the paper was that the Cincinnati clause listed examples of what it deems immoral. The Enquirer may feel better not to see a list of immoral behavior included, but you can be certain a teacher in Oakland can be fired for the same reasons as one in Cincinnati. Also, I am at a loss as to where in the Cincinnati contract any intent to “spy on teachers,” is implied or asserted. The bottom line is there is nothing wrong with Catholic schools asking their teachers to help strengthen and grow the Catholic faith rather than actively oppose it.

Butt-out, Enquirer.

Fort Mitchell resident Timothy McHugh graduated from Cardinal Pacelli School (Mt. Lookout/Cincinnati) and St. Xavier High School (Cincinnat). He works in finance and is currently a member of St. Agnes Parish in Ft. Wright (KY).

Photo courtesy Archbishop McNicholas High School.

For Archbishop Moeller High School religion teacher Paul Kindt’s essay on last year’s teacher contract, “I’m Signing the Contract: In Sharpie” click here.

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2 days 7 hours
Photo courtesy FreeImages.

Photo courtesy FreeImages.

Almost 500 priests wrote a brief letter to the Catholic Herald, a British magazine, affirming their commitment to the nature and indissolubility of marriage. After the letter was published last week the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Cardinal Nichols, released a statement asking priests to follow the pope’s request to pray about the Synod and speak to their bishops, not conduct “dialogue” through the press.

According to the magazine’s associate editor, Madeleine Teahan, notable signatories to the letter “include theologians Fr Aidan Nichols and Fr John Saward, and Oxford physicist Fr Andrew Pinsent. Fr Robert Billing, spokesman for the Diocese of Lancaster, Fr Tim Finigan, blogger and Catholic Herald columnist, and Fr Julian Large, provost of the London Oratory, have also signed the letter.”

The upcoming Extraordinary Synod of Bishops has sparked conversation about marriage and the family all over the world and have made many people, lay and clergy alike, deeply uneasy. The subjects to be discussed include issues that concern doctrine as well as custom, and several well-known clergy (especially among the German bishops) advocate positions about divorce and remarriage that contradict the words of Jesus Christ and thus the doctrine of the Church. At the same time these bishops and their supporters question the indissolubility of marriage, an ideologically progressive view of same-sex attraction being promulgated by wealthy, powerful, and popular people and institutions in the West work undermine the very idea of marriage. All the bishops in the United States asked the people of their dioceses to advise them, through surveys, meetings, or letters, about the state of the family and the Church’s ministry to families in preparation for the Synod.

According to a press release that accompanied it, the letter was a project put together by concerned lay people who discovered that priests had grave misgivings about the Synod, fearing it could lead to division in the Church. “Despite the official channels of representation set up by the dioceses of England and Wales,” the press release says, “a high proportion of the country’s priests felt the need to make their voices heard by an extra-ordinary open letter, which speaks of a climate ‘of moral confusion’ created by media coverage of the Synod and a lack of clarity from official church leaders in stating the settled teaching of the Catholic Church.”

The release also said organizers were surprised at how many priests signed the letter, because of what was described as pressure not to sign from “senior churchmen.” They did so because, the release says, the experience of Catholics in Great Britain demonstrates that commitment to the Church is worth even martyrdom. ”Were Saints Thomas More and John Fisher obscurantist conservatives?” it quotes one of the signers, whom it does not name. “No. They gave their lives in defence of the indissolubility of marriage. Catholics at the time of Henry VIII were willing to give up a thousand years of Catholic life and culture to defend the inconvenient but timeless truth. Now is our time to give witness.”

The text of the letter, and the names of all who signed it, follow:

SIR – Following the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2014 much confusion has arisen concerning Catholic moral teaching. In this situation we wish, as Catholic priests, to re-state our unwavering fidelity to the traditional doctrines regarding marriage and the true meaning of human sexuality, founded on the Word of God and taught by the Church’s Magisterium for two millennia.

We commit ourselves anew to the task of presenting this teaching in all its fullness, while reaching out with the Lord’s compassion to those struggling to respond to the demands and challenges of the Gospel in an increasingly secular society. Furthermore we affirm the importance of upholding the Church’s traditional discipline regarding the reception of the sacraments, and that doctrine and practice remain firmly and inseparably in harmony.

We urge all those who will participate in the second Synod in October 2015 to make a clear and firm proclamation of the Church’s unchanging moral teaching, so that confusion may be removed, and faith confirmed.

Yours faithfully,

Fr John Abberton, Fr Raymond Abuga MSP, Fr Benedict Bullem Abuo, Fr John Adikwu CM, Fr Richard Aladics, Fr Dominic Allain, Fr Hugh Allan OPraem, Monsignor John Allen, Fr Jim L Allen, Fr Blaise Amadi, Fr Moses Amune, Fr Thomas Amungwa, Fr David Annear, Fr Matt Anscombe, Fr Paul Antwi- Boasiako CSSP, Fr Gabriel Arnold OSB, Fr Thevakingsley Arulananthem OAR, Fr James Austin, Fr Francis Austin, Abbot Francis Baird OSB, Fr Gerard Balinnya, Fr John Barnes, Fr Kurt Barragan, Fr Lee Barrett, Fr Bernard Barrett, Fr Andrew Barrett, Fr Christopher Basden, Fr Jeremy Bath, Fr Antoine Baya OFM, Fr Michael Beattie SJ, Fr Miceal Beatty, Fr Lee Bennett, Fr Jerome Bertram CO, Fr Kazimierz Bidzinski, Fr Pawel Bielak, Fr Jonathan Bielawski, Fr Robert Billing, Fr Martin Birrell OSB, Fr Paul Blackburn, Fr Raymond Blake, Fr Terry Boyle, Fr Constant Botter SCJ, Fr Bede Rowe, Fr Bernard Boylan, Fr Cornelius Boyle, Fr Stephen Boyle, Fr James Bradley, Fr Jonathan Brandon, Fr Martin Breen, Fr John Brennan, Fr Neil Brett, Fr Charles Briggs, Fr Marcus Brisley, Abbot Cuthbert Brogan OSB, Fr Andrew Brown, Fr Stephen Brown, Fr Martin Budge, Fr Solomon Gidu Bulus, Fr Alan Burgess, Fr Paschal Burlinson OFMCap, Monsignor Andrew Burnham, Fr David Burns, Fr James Burns, Fr Peter Burns, Fr Gerard P Byrne, Fr John Cahill, Fr John Cairns, Fr Xavier Calduch, Fr Joe Calleja, Fr Victor Camilleri OFM, Fr Darren Carden, Fr Patrick Carroll, Fr Bernard Caszo MSFS, FrJohn Chandler, Abbot David Charlesworth OSB, Fr.William Charlton, Fr Neil Chatfield, Fr Gregory Chillman OSB, Fr David Chinnery, Fr Dominic Chukka, Fr Eddie Clare, Fr Basil Clark, Fr James Clark, Fr Peter Clarke, Fr Jose Claveria, Canon Joseph Clements, Fr Michael Clotheir OSB, Canon Matthew Coakley, Fr Anthony Cogliolo, Fr Christopher Colven, Fr Anthony Conlon, Fr Thomas Connolly, Fr Philip Conner, Fr Francis R Cookson, Fr John Cooper, Fr Robert Copsey SOLT, Fr John Corbyn, Fr Eamon Corduff, Fr Hugh Corrigan OAR, Fr James Cosker, Fr Francis Coveney, Fr Ross SJ Crichton, Fr Finton Crotty SSCC, Fr Edward Crouzet OSB, Fr C Crowther, Fr Michael Crumpton, Fr Anthony Cussen SMA, Fr Justin Daanaah, Fr James Daley MHM, Fr William Damah, Fr Michael D’Arcy-Walsh, Fr Jeremy Davies, Fr Philip de Freitas, Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP, Fr Timothy Dean, Fr Patrick Deegan, Fr Scott Deeley, Fr Richard Diala CM, Fr Paul Diaper, Fr Gary Dickson, Fr Charles Dilk CO, Fr Stephen Dingley, Fr Michael Docherty, Fr Charles Dornan, Fr Kevin Dow, Fr Jeffrey Downie, Fr Francis Doyle, Fr Marcin Drabik, Fr Gerry Drummond, Fr Tom Dubois, Fr John Duckett, Fr Richard Duffield CO, Fr Anthony Dukes, Fr Bruce Dutson, Fr Paul Dynan, Fr Philip Dyson, Fr James Earley, Fr Peter Edwards, Fr Robert Ehileme SMM, Fr Wilfrid Elkin, Fr Mark Elliot-Smith, Fr Joseph Etim, Fr Jude Eze, Fr Josaphat Ezenwa, Fr John Fairhurst SJ, Fr Ian Farrell, Fr Joseph Farrell, Fr Robert Farrell, Fr James Fasakin CSSp, Fr Prassad Fernando, Fr Christopher Findlay – Wilson, Fr Tim Finigan, Fr Kieran Fitzharris SVD, F. Gerald Flood, Fr John Fordham CO, Fr Andrew Forrest, Fr Thomas Forster, Fr Peter Fox, Fr William Fraser, Fr Patrick Gaffney CSSp, Fr Michael John Galbraith, Fr Andrew Gallagher, Fr Francis Gallagher, Fr Michael Gallagher, Fr Piotr Gardon SC, Fr John Gaul SCJ, Fr Guy de Gaynesford, Fr Vincent George CM, Fr Paul Gibbons, Fr Damien Gilhooley, Canon Leo Glancy, Fr Peter Glas, Fr Matthew Goddard FSSP, Fr Gonzalo Gonzales, Fr Maurice Gordon, Canon David Grant, Fr Brian Gray, Fr Andy Graydon, Fr Christopher Greaney, Fr John Greatbatch, Fr Julian Green, Fr Ian Grieves, Fr Nigel Griffin, Fr Philip J Griffin, Fr Tom Grufferty, Fr Jozef Gruszkiewicz, Fr Anton Guziel CO, Fr Bernard Hahesy, Fr Henryk Halman FDP, Fr John Hancock, Fr Neil Hannigan, Fr Francis Capener, Fr Stephen Hardaker, Fr Andrew Harding, Fr Benedict Hardy OSB, Fr David Hartley, Fr Raymond Hayne, Canon Brendan Healy, Fr Ian Hellyer, Fr John Hemer MHM, Fr Simon Henry, Fr Jonathan Hill, Fr Michael Ho-Huu-Nghia, Fr Marcus Holden, Fr Angelus Houle, Fr John Hunwicke, Fr Geoffrey Hurst, Fr David Hutton, Fr Patrick Hutton, Fr Raymond Hynes OFM, Fr Jude Iseorah SMM, Fr.Matthew Jakes, Fr Dylan James, Fr Slawomir Jedrych, Fr John Johnson, Fr Michael Jones, Fr Peter Jones, Fr Darryl Jordan, Fr Kevin Jordan, Fr Nicholas Kavanagh, Fr Brendan Kelly, Fr Daniel M Kelly, Fr John B Kelly, Fr Michael Kelly, Fr Peter Kelly, Fr Joseph Kendall, Fr Vincent Kennedy OFM, Fr John Kennedy, Fr Ian Ker, Fr Brendan Killeen, Fr Peter Kirkham, Monsignor David Kirkwood, Fr Krzysztof Kita, Fr Peter Knott SJ, Fr Vitalis Kondo, Fr Jaroslaw Konopko OFMCap, Fr Saji Matthew Koottakithayil MSFS, Fr Wojciech Kowalski SDS, Fr Douglas Lamb, Fr Michael Lang CO, Fr Julian Large CO, Fr John Laybourn, Fr Brian Leatherland, Fr.Paul Lester, Fr Nicholas Leviseur, Fr Jacob Lewis, Canon Michael Lewis, Fr Joseph Liang AA, Fr Gladstone Liddle, Fr Christopher Lindlar, Fr Denys Lloyd, Fr Laurie Locke, Canon Bernard Lordan, Fr Christopher Loughran, Fr Roy Lovatt, Fr Robbie Low, Fr Alexander Lucie Smith, Fr John Lungley, Canon Brendan MacCarthy, Canon John Angus MacDonald, Fr Stanislaus Maciuszek, Fr Hugh MacKenzie, Canon Peter Magee, Fr Brian O Mahony CSSP, Fr Kieran Mullarkey, Fr John Maloney, Fr Aleksander Marcharski, Fr Geoffrey Marlor, Fr Francis Marsden, Fr Bernard Marsh, Fr Terry Martin, Fr John Masshedar, Fr William Massie, Fr Michael Bateman, Fr Stephen Maughan, Fr Laurence Mayne, Fr Paul McAlinden, Fr James McAuley, Canon Anthony McBride, Monsignor Canon Kenneth McBride, Fr Ian McCarthy, Fr Derrick McCulloch, Fr John McCullough, Fr.David McDonald, Canon John McElroy, Fr John McFadden CSSP, Fr Terry McGarth MSFS, Fr Brian McGilloway, Fr Denis McGillycuddy, Fr Brendan McGuinness SDB, Fr Rupert McHardy CO, Canon Patrick McInally, Fr Bernard McInulty, Fr Michael McLaughlin, Fr William McMahon, Fr Martin McPake SVD, Fr Anthony Meredith SJ, Fr Stuart Meyer, Fr Nazarius Mgungwe, Fr Jan Milcz CSsR, Fr Philip Miller, Canon Paul Mitcheson, Fr Thomas Monaghan, Fr.Augustine Monaghan MHM, Monsignor Vaughan Morgan, Fr Richard Moroney, Fr Mark Morris, Fr Stephen Morrison OPraem, Fr Frederick Moss MHM, Fr Andrew Moss, Fr Deodat Msahala, Fr Clement M Mukuka, Fr Ted Mullen IC, Fr Ghislain B Mulumanzi, Fr John Mundackal, Fr Aidan Murray SDB, Monsignor Provost Cyril Murtagh, Fr Noel Bisibu N’Tungu, Fr Bijoy Chandra Nayak CMF, Fr James Neal, Fr Arthur Nearey, Fr Roger Nesbitt, Fr Peter Newsam, Fr Ponder Paulinus Ngilangwa SDS, Fr Guy Nicholls, Fr Aidan Nichols, Fr Julius Nkafu, Fr Peter Norris, Fr Bernardine Nsom, Canon Kevin O Connor, Fr Dominic O Conor, Fr Liam O Conor, Fr Patrick O Doherty, Fr Kevin O Donnell, Canon Vincent O Hara ODC, Fr Conleth O Hara CP, Fr Dominic O Hara, Fr Andrew O Sullivan, Fr Kevin O Toole, Fr Robert Ogbede CM, Fr Flavin Ohayerenwa CSSp, Fr Tobias Okoro, Fr Addison Opkeoh, Fr.Clement Orango MCCJ, Fr John Osman, Fr Arockia Mariadass Pagyasamy OCD, Fr Binu Palakapally IC, Fr David Palmer, Fr Fortunato Partisano, Fr John Pascoe, Fr Michael Patey, Fr Eoin Patten, Fr Sunny Paul, Fr Maurice Pearce, Fr Anthony Pellegrini, Fr Neil Peoples, Fr Leon Pereira OP, Fr David Phillips, Fr Terry Phipps, Fr.Andrew Pinsent, Fr Dawid Piot, Fr Anthony Plummer, Fr John Lawrence M. Polis FI, Fr Graham Preston, Fr James Preston, Fr Peter Preston SDS, Fr Robert Pytel, Fr Gerard Quinn, Fr Behruz Rafat, Fr N Ratu, Fr John Ravensdale, Fr David Rea, Monsignor Gordon Read, Monsignor Alex Rebello, Fr Charles Reddan SDS, Fr Alexander Redman, Fr Stephen Reynolds, Fr John Rice, Fr Graham Ricketts, Fr Jonathan Rollinson OSB, Fr George M Roth FI, Fr Andrew Rowlands, Canon Luiz Ruscillo, Fr Tadeusz Ruthowski, Fr Paschal Ryan, Fr Mario Sanderson, Fr John Saward, Fr Nicholas Schofield, Fr Alphege Stebbens OSB, Fr Francis Selman, Fr Jean Claude Selvini, Very Rev’d Fr Daniel Seward CO, Fr John Sharp, Fr Alexander Sherbrooke, Fr John Shewring, Fr Chris Silva, Fr William Simpson, Fr Bernard Sixtus, Fr Thomas Skeats OP, Fr Gerard Skinner, Fr John Smethurst, Fr Bernard Snelder MHM, Fr Pryemek Sobczak, Fr Edward Sopala, Fr Michael Spain OCD, Fr Roger Spencer, Fr.Simon Stamp, Fr Andrew Starkie, Fr Pawel Stebel, Fr Jeffrey Steel, Monsignor George Stokes, Fr Brian Storey, Monsignor Richard Stork, Fr Damian Sturdy OSB, Fr Shaun Swales, Fr Martin Sweeney MHM, Fr Mark Swires, Fr Roman Szczypa SDB, Fr Ryssard Taraszka, Fr Brian Taylor, Fr Christopher A Thomas, Fr Sean Thornton, Fr Matthew Thottathimyali, Fr Adrian Tomlinson, Fr Edward Tomlinson, Fr Dennis Touw, Fr Simon Treloar, Canon Harry Turner, Fr Andrew Undsworth, Fr John Vallomprayil SDS, Fr Edward van den Bergh CO, Fr Ian Vane, Fr Peter Vellacott, Fr Gregory Verissimo, Fr Mark Vickers, Fr Neil Vincent, Fr David Waller, Fr Gary Walsh, Fr John Walsh, Fr Joseph Walsh, Fr Patrick Walsh, Fr Victor Walter, Fr Edward Wanat SDS, Fr Peter Wareing CMF, Fr Ged Watkins, Fr Peter Wells, Fr Richard Whinder, Fr Henry Whisenant, Fr Joseph Whisstock, Fr.David J White, Fr Christopher Whitehouse, Fr William Wilby, Fr Bruno Witchalls, Fr Anthony Wood, Fr Jeffrey Woolnough, Fr William Wright OSB, Fr William R Young, Fr Lucjan Zaniewski OFMCap, Fr Richard Mary Zeng SDS, Fr Paul Zielinski, Fr Bartholomew Zubeveil CSSp

Blogger Fr. Timothy Finegan suggests that lay people who wish to support Catholic teaching on marriage do so through Voice of the Family, a project created by an international coalition of Catholic organizations (American-based international organizations LifeSiteNews and Human Life International are among the coalition), to pray for and support the Synod.

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2 days 7 hours
Photo courtesy FreeImages.

Photo courtesy FreeImages.

Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith, consulting editor to the Catholic Herald, on why he was one of nearly 500 British priests who signed a letter to the British magazine supporting marriage:

Back in the day, shortly after the publication of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, a group of well-regarded British Catholics wrote a letter to The Times expressing their dissent from the teaching of the encyclical. This at the time, I once heard, caused quite a sensation. Virtually every signatory of that letter of dissent must be dead by now, but I can remember someone pointing out an elderly retired University chaplain to me as a signatory some years ago, purely as a matter of historical curiosity. The letter of dissent to the Times has been forgotten. The encyclical letter Humane Vitae lives on, and indeed has only become more important, in my opinion, as time has passed.

Now we have a new letter, but not of dissent: nearly five hundred British priests (of which I am one) writing in support of traditional Church teaching, in obedience to the Bishops who asked us to make our views known, and indeed in obedience to the Pope, who has asked people to speak freely, indeed boldly. That is what the word “parrhesia”, of which the Pope is quite fond, means.

I had not the slightest hesitation in signing the letter, and I was grateful to the organisers for undertaking the task. There are several reasons for this. Here are a few of them…

First, I am a moral theologian. That’s my job, and it seems incredibly important to me that the underlying moral issue is not obscured here. Yes, there are pastoral issues, but there can be no pastoral solution without taking account of moral truth.

Rather oddly there seem to be very few moral theologians taking part in the Synod. Pastoral theology is about the application of moral theology. Talking about pastoral provisions without reference to morals is a bit like having a discussion in a room from which the oxygen has been pumped out.

Secondly, I am, like almost all the signatories, a parish priest. As such I know that divorce is no longer really an issue in the way it was. There are, of course, people who are divorced and remarried in my parish. But there are many more who have never been married. Divorce is not the problem in developed societies like ours: the problem is that divorce has been so successful that it has undermined marriage. Marriage has become “a piece of paper”, a devalued currency. We need to rebuild the institution of marriage from the foundations up.

This applies to developed societies like ours. What about developing societies? I spent four years in Nairobi working in many pastoral situations as well as teaching, and there too we are building an awareness of marriage; and we need to keep on building. We need to build up the Christian model of marriage, against the models of polygamy and temporary marriage and concubinage. We have made a start, but there is a long way to go. It is vital that the Synod does not undermine the task either here, or in the developing world.

Thirdly, I signed because I worry about the future. What will a society without marriage look like? We seem to be heading that way. If we somehow or another allow or give permission for second unions, where the first union has been proved to be consummatum ac ratum, we effectively give permission for temporary marriage, and worse than that, we make every marriage, formerly absolute, contingent. This would be a catastrophe.

This has already happened in other spheres. The civil wedding ceremony (and please remember we regard civil marriages between non-Catholics as binding) speaks of permanence and a lifelong union, but given the ease of divorce, are people who witness civil weddings convinced that they are seeing a lifelong partnership being undertaken? Again, speaking to a friend in another ecclesial community recently, he told me that his own church, which has a wedding ceremony that speaks of lifelong union, has effectively abandoned the concept. “Every marriage is indissoluble,” he said, “until we say it is dissolved.” Is this the way we want to go?

Finally, as Rowan Williams once said – Jesus is the one who questions our answers, rather than answers our questions. And he has certainly done this in the field of marriage. The words of the Lord are clear, words the historicity of which no one has seriously questioned:

The Pharisees approached and asked, ‘Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?’ They were testing him. He said to them in reply, ‘What did Moses command you?’ They replied, ‘Moses permitted him to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her. But Jesus told them, ‘Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother (and be joined to his wife), and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.’ In the house the disciples again questioned him about this. He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.’ (Mark 10:2-12).

No one can deny, either, that this is a challenging teaching. But let us not despair. We can rise to the challenge. That’s why Christ died on the Cross for us.

Text copyright The Catholic Herald, reproduced in full. No ownership claimed or implied.

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2 days 7 hours

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Ao final da Missa no Domingo de Ramos, antes de rezar o Angelus, o Papa Francisco saudou os jovens por ocasião da XXX Jornada Mundial da Juventude, celebrada em nível diocesano hoje.  “Caros jovens – disse o Papa-  exorto-vos a continuar o vosso caminho seja nas dioceses, seja na peregrinação através dos continen... 20 hours 53 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis remembered the persecuted Christians in the world on Sunday – Palm Sunday – during Mass in St. Peter’s Square. Following the proclamation of the Passion according to St. Mark, Pope Francis delivered a homily, in which he reflected on the plight of all those who endure humiliation because of their faithfulness to the Gospel, all those who face discrimination and pay a personal price for their fidelity to Christ. Click below to hear our report “We think too of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted because they are Christians,” he said, “ the martyrs of our own time .” The Holy Father went on to say, “They refuse to deny Jesus and they endure insult and injury with dignity. They follow Him on His way. ” The reflection came at the end of his brief Palm Sunday homily, which was intensely focused on the way of humility that Christ chose to undertake for our salvation. “This is God’s way, the way of humility,” he said. “It is the way of Jesus; there is no other.” The Holy Father concluded with a call to all the faithful to undertake the Way of the Cross, which leads to salvation and eternal life, with new dedication and devotion during Holy Week. “Let us set about with determination along this same path,” said Pope Francis, “with immense love for Him, our Lord and Saviour.  Love will guide us and give us strength .  For where He is, we too shall be. (cf. Jn  12:26)” (from Vatican Radio)... 23 hours 50 min
(Vatican Radio) Following Mass for Palm Sunday in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis during the Angelus prayed for the victims of the Germanwings air crash on Tuesday which killed 150 people. The Holy Father entrusted them to Mary’s intercession including the group of German students who lost their lives. The Pope also greeted the young people present for Diocesan World Youth Day urging them to continue on their path of pilgrimage which will, he said, eventually lead you to Krakow in 2016. The theme for next year’s World Youth Day event is "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy", which Pope Francis noted “fits in well” with the upcoming  Holy Year of Mercy which begins on December 8. The Holy Father also prayed that Mary our Mother would help us to live with faith Holy Week.   (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 4 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered the homily at Mass in St. Peter's Square on Sunday - Palm Sunday - the beginning of Holy Week, 2015. Please find, below, the official English translation of the Holy Father's prepared remarks. ***************************** At the heart of this celebration, which seems so festive, are the words we heard in the hymn of the Letter to the Philippians: “He humbled himself” (2:8).  Jesus’ humiliation . These words show us God’s way and the way of Christians : it is humility.  A way which constantly amazes and disturbs us: we will never get used to a humble God! Humility is above all God’s way: God humbles himself to walk with his people , to put up with their infidelity.  This is clear when we read the Book of Exodus.  How humiliating for the Lord to hear all that grumbling, all those complaints against Moses, but ultimately against him, their Father, who brought them out of slavery and was leading them on the journey through the desert to the land of freedom. This week, Holy Week, which leads us to Easter, we will take this path of Jesus’ own humiliation.  Only in this way will this week be “holy” for us too! We will feel the contempt of the leaders of his people and their attempts to trip him up.  We will be there at the betrayal of Judas, one of the Twelve, who will sell him for thirty pieces of silver.  We will see the Lord arrested and carried off like a criminal; abandoned by his disciples, dragged before the Sanhedrin, condemned to death, beaten and insulted.  We will hear Peter, the “rock” among the disciples, deny him three times.  We will hear the shouts of the crowd, egged on by their leaders, who demand that Barabas be freed and Jesus crucified.  We will see him mocked by the soldiers, robed in purple and crowned with thorns.  And then, as he makes his sorrowful way beneath the cross, we will hear the jeering of the people and their leaders, who scoff at his being King and Son of God. This is God’s way, the way of humility.  It is the way of Jesus; there is no other.  And there can be no humility without humiliation. Following this path to the full, the Son of God took on the “form of a slave” (cf. Phil 2:7).  In the end, humility means service .  It means making room for God by stripping oneself, “ emptying oneself”, as Scripture says (v. 7).  This is the greatest humiliation of all. There is another way, however, opposed to the way of Christ.  It is worldliness, the way of the world.  The world proposes the way of vanity, pride, success…  the other way.  The Evil One proposed this way to Jesus too, during his forty days in the desert.  But Jesus immediately rejected it.  With him, we too can overcome this temptation, not only at significant moments, but in daily life as well. In this, we are helped and comforted by the example of so many men and women who, in silence and hiddenness, sacrifice themselves daily to serve others : a sick relative, an elderly person living alone, a disabled person… We think too of the humiliation endured by all those who, for their lives of fidelity to the Gospel, encounter discrimination and pay a personal price.  We think too of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted because they are Christians, the martyrs of our own time .  They refuse to deny Jesus and they endure insult and injury with dignity.  They follow him on his way.  We can speak of a “cloud of witnesses” (cf. Heb  12:1).  Let us set about with determination along this same path, with immense love for him, our Lord and Saviour.  Love will guide us and give us strength .  For where he is, we too shall be (cf. Jn  12:26).  Amen. (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 1 hour
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Telegram signed by the Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin concerning the recent and severe flooding in Chile and Peru. Abnormally heavy rains on Wednesday and Thursday in the Atacama Desert in Chile's north, have swollen rivers and caused flash floods.  Nine people are confirmed dead and at least nineteen people are missing.   The following is a translation of the text of the Pope's telegram: Due to the severe flooding affecting areas of Peru and Chile, and which have caused casualties and heavy damage to property, the Holy Father is offering prayers for the eternal rest of the deceased and calls for the Lord to grant consolation and strength to those affected by this disaster.  The Holy Father furthermore exhorts all institutions and all people of good will, motivated by sentiments of fraternal solidarity and Christian charity, to provide assistance in order to overcome these difficult times. (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 21 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent his condolences upon learning of the death of the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV. “The Christian world has lost an important spiritual leader, a courageous and wise pastor who faithfully served his community in extremely challenging times,” Pope Francis writes. “His Holiness Mar Dinkha suffered greatly because of the tragic situation in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and in Syria, resolutely calling attention to the plight of our Christian brothers and sisters and other religious minorities suffering daily persecution.” Pope Francis also gave thanks for the commitment of Mar Dinkha to improving relations among Christians, and in particular between the Catholic Church and Assyrian Church of the East. The full text of the telegram is below   To His Beatitude Mar Aprem                 Locum Tenens of the Assyrian Church of the East Having learned with sadness of the death of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to Your Beatitude, to the Bishops, clergy and all the faithful and to assure you of the spiritual closeness of all Catholics at this time.  The Christian world has lost an important spiritual leader, a courageous and wise pastor who faithfully served his community in extremely challenging times.  His Holiness Mar Dinkha suffered greatly because of the tragic situation in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and in Syria, resolutely calling attention to the plight of our Christian brothers and sisters and other religious minorities suffering daily persecution.  I recall how we spoke of this at length during the recent visit of His Holiness to Rome.  I give heartfelt thanks to Almighty God for the enduring commitment of His Holiness to improving relations among Christians and in particular between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East.  May the Lord receive him into his kingdom and grant him eternal rest, and may the memory of his long and devoted service to the Church live on as a challenge and inspiration to us all.                                FRANCISCUS PP. (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 23 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said the life of St Teresa of Avila, characterized by “total self-giving to God,” is a “great treasure” that can help to renew consecrated life today. The pope spoke of the witness of St Teresa in a letter, issued Saturday, to the Superior General of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, Fr Xavier Cannistrà, to mark the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the saint’s birth. Listen to the report by Laura Ieraci: St Teresa of Avila, a Spanish nun and mystic and a reformer of the Carmelite Order, was born 28 March 1515. Also known as St Teresa of Jesus, her writings are among the classics of Christian spirituality and mysticism. Her most known spiritual work is The Interior Castle . Pope Paul VI named her a Doctor of the Church in 1970. In his letter to the Carmelite Superior General, the Pope said St Teresa left “a great treasure to renew consecrated life today, full of concrete proposals, ways and methods to pray” that always lead one back to Jesus and “constitute a genuine school to grow in love for God and neighbour.” The Pope described St Teresa as “primarily a teacher of prayer.” “Teresa’s prayer was not reserved only to one space or to one time of day; it arose spontaneously in the most diverse occasions,” he said. “She was convinced of the value of continuous prayer, even if it was not always perfect.” “The saint asks us to be steadfast, faithful, even in times of dryness, personal difficulties or urgent needs that call us,” he continued. The Pope added that St Teresa knew the importance of authentic community life and that “neither prayer nor mission” can be sustained without it. Consequently, she built monasteries characterized by fraternity and warned her sisters of the danger of individualism, as well as gossip, jealousy and criticism “which severely damage relationships with others,” the Pope said. “With these noble roots, Teresian communities are called to become houses of communion,” said the pope, “capable of witnessing to fraternal love and to the motherhood of the Church, presenting to the Lord the needs of the world, torn by divisions and wars.” Below is the Vatican Radio translation of the Pope’s letter to Carmelite Father Xavier Cannistrà: Dear Brother, On the 500th anniversary of the birth of St Teresa of Jesus, I wish, together with the whole Church, to give thanks to the great family of Discalced Carmelites—religious men and women and secular members—for  the charism of this remarkable woman. I consider it a providential grace that this anniversary coincides with the Year of Consecrated Life, in which the saint of Avila shines as a sure and attractive model of total self-giving to God. It is one more reason to look to the past with gratitude and to rediscover "the inspiring spark" that gave impetus to the founders and to the first communities (cf. Letter to all consecrated people, 21 November 2014). How much goodness does the testimony of her consecration—born directly from the encounter with Christ, her experience of prayer as continuous dialogue with God, and her community life, rooted in the motherhood of the Church—do for us! 1. St Teresa is primarily a teacher of prayer. The discovery of Christ's humanity was central to her experience. Moved by the desire to share this personal experience with others, she describes it in a vivid and simple way, accessible to everyone, because it consists simply in "a relationship of friendship ... with he who we know loves us" (Life, 8, 5 ). Many times this same narrative becomes prayer, as if she had wanted to introduce the reader into her interior dialogue with Christ. Teresa’s prayer was not reserved only to one space or to one time of day; it arose spontaneously in the most diverse occasions: "It would be extremely difficult if you could only pray in secluded places" (Foundations, 5, 16). She was convinced of the value of continuous prayer, even if it was not always perfect. The saint asks us to be steadfast, faithful, even in times of dryness, personal difficulties or urgent needs that call us. Teresa left us a great treasure to renew consecrated life today, full of concrete proposals, ways and methods to pray, that, far from closing us in on ourselves or leading us only to inner balance, always make us start again from Jesus and constitute a genuine school to grow in love for God and neighbour. 2. Since her encounter with Jesus, St Teresa lived "another life"; she become a tireless communicator of the Gospel (cf. Life, 23, 1). Eager to serve the Church, and in the face of serious problems of her time, she did not limit herself to being a spectator of the reality around her. In her position as a woman and with her health difficulties, she decided,  she said, "to do what little depended on me ... that is to follow the evangelical counsels as perfectly as possible and to ensure that these few nuns who are here do the same" (The Way, 1, 2). Thus began the Teresian reform, in which she asked her sisters not to lose time negotiating with God "interests of little importance," while "the world is in flames" (ibid., 1, 5). This missionary and ecclesial dimension has always marked the Carmelites and Discalced Carmelites. As she did then, even today the saint opens new horizons for us, she calls us to a great undertaking, to see the world with the eyes of Christ, to seek what He seeks and to love what He loves. 3. St Teresa knew that neither prayer nor mission can be sustained without authentic community life. Therefore, the foundation that she laid in her monasteries was fraternity: "Here everyone must love one another, care for each other and help one another" (ibid., 4, 7). And she was very careful to warn her sisters about the danger of individualism in fraternal life, which consists "all or almost all in the denial of ourselves and of our own comforts" (ibid., 12, 2) and to place ourselves at the service of others. To avoid this risk, the saint of Avila recommended to her sisters, first of all, the virtue of humility, which is neither outward neglect nor inner shyness of the soul, but each knowing their own abilities and what God can do in us (cf. Relations, 28). The opposite is what she calls "false point of honour" (Life, 31, 23), a source of gossip, jealousy and criticism, which severely damage relationships with others. Teresian humility consists of self-acceptance, awareness of one’s own dignity, missionary courage, gratitude and trust in God. With these noble roots, Teresian communities are called to become houses of communion, capable of witnessing to fraternal love and to the motherhood of the Church, presenting to the Lord the needs of the world, torn by divisions and wars. Dear Brother, I do not want to end without thanking the Teresian Carmelite communities that entrust the Pope, with special tenderness, to the protection of the Virgin of Carmel, and accompany, with their prayers, the great trials and challenges of the Church. I ask the Lord that your witness of life, like that of St Teresa, allows the joy and beauty of living the Gospel to shine and attracts many young people to follow Christ closely. To the whole Teresian family, I warmly impart my Apostolic Blessing. (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 42 min
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican on Friday told the United Nations Security Council that Christians are facing an “existential fear” in the Middle East. The Security Council was hosting an open debate on “The victims of attacks and abuses on ethnic or religious grounds in the Middle East”. Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, said urged the international community to do all it can to prevent further victims of attacks and abuses for ethnic and/or religious grounds. “Faced with the unbearable situation of living in a conflict zone controlled  by terrorist and extremist organizations who constantly threaten them with death, and  with a  deep sense of feeling abandoned to their fate, by the legitimate authorities and the International  Community,  entire communities of Christians, especially from Northern Iraq,  have been brutally  forced to flee their homes and they have sought refuge in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and in the neighbouring countries of the region,” said Archbishop Auza. He called on all “leaders and people of goodwill in the region and throughout the world to act before it’s too late” to prevent genocide, war crimes,  crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing and their incitement. Archbishop Auza reminded the Security Council  “when  a  State  is  unable  or  unwilling  to  uphold  this  primary  responsibility [to protect its population from these crimes],  the  International Community must be prepared to take action to protect populations in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.”   The full text of the intervention by Archbishop Auza is below   Intervention of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN United Nations Security Council Open Debate on “The victims of attacks and abuses on ethnic or religious grounds in the Middle East” New York, 27 March 2015 Mr. President, At the very outset, the Holy See wishes to express its sincere gratitude to your Presidency for  having  convened  today’s  Open  Debate  on  “the  victims  of  attacks  and  abuses  on  ethnic  or  religious  ground  in  the  Middle  East”.  This  debate  is  not  only  timely  but  it  is  most  urgent,  especially when we call to mind those who have already lost their lives, for whom this Open  Debate has come too late. Their fate urges us to do all that we can to prevent further victims of  attacks and abuses for ethnic and/or religious grounds.  Christians and other religious minorities  of  the  Middle  East  seek to be heard by this Council and other International fora, not in some  abstract  form,  but  in  a  manner  that  is  truly  conscious  of  their  pain  and  suffering  and  their  existential fear for their survival in the Middle East and beyond. We must acknowledge that the problem exists and that the hour is grave. Ethnic and religious  communities  ---  including Turkmen, Shabaks, Yazidi, Sabaeans, Kaka’e, Faili Kurds, Shi’ite  Arabs  and  even  Sunni  Arabs  and  Kurds  ---  face  extreme  pressures,  abuses  of  human  rights,  torture, killing and all forms of persecution purely for the faith they profess or for the ethnic  group to which they belong. The Christians in the Middle East have been specifically targeted, killed or forced to flee from  their homes and countries. We have helplessly watched Assyrian Christians kidnapped in Iraq  by the so-called “Islamic State”  group, Egyptian Coptic Christians beheaded by ISIL-affiliated  organizations in Libya, and the near elimination of Christians in Mosul. Only 25 years ago, there  were nearly two million Christians living in Iraq; while the most recent estimates are less than a  quarter of this figure. Faced with the unbearable situation of living in a conflict zone controlled  by terrorist and extremist organizations who constantly threaten them with death, and  with a  deep sense of feeling abandoned to their fate, by the legitimate authorities and the International  Community,  entire communities of Christians, especially from Northern Iraq,  have been brutally  forced to flee their homes and they have sought refuge in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and in the neighbouring countries of the region. The Holy See expresses profound gratitude to countries and leaders in the region who openly  defend the Christians as an integral part of the religious, historical and cultural fabric of the  region. For 2,000 years, Christians have called the Middle East ho me; indeed, as we all know,  the Middle East is the cradle of Christianity.  Thus, it pains us so deeply that these ancient Christian communities in the region  ---  many of  whom  still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ  ---  are among those threatened  with  extinction.  Their  uninterrupted  existence  in  the  region  is  testimony  of  many  centuries  of  coexistence,  side  by  side,  with  Muslims  and  other  religious  and  ethnic  communities.  These  communities are an integral part of the cultural religious identity of  the Middle East, thus their disappearance  from the  Middle East would not only be a religious tragedy but a loss of  a rich  cultural-religious patrimony that contributes so much to the societies to which they belong, and  which the whole world has much interest to preserve. The Holy See, therefore, calls on all the  leaders and people of goodwill in the region and throughout the world to act before it’s too late. In 2005, at the United Nations World Summit, the entire  International Community agreed that  every State has the primary responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes,  crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing and their incitement. Moreover, the International  Community recognizes its responsibility to assist States in fulfilling their primary responsibility.  However,  when  a  State  is  unable  or  unwilling  to  uphold  this  primary  responsibility,  the  International Community must be prepared to take action to protect populations in accordance  with the Charter of the United Nations. As Pope Benedict  XVI  underlined in his Address to the United Nations General Assembly in  2008, this responsibility to protect is not a novel creation in international law, but rather is rooted  in the ancient  ius gentium  as the foundation of every action taken by those in government with  regard to the governed. Building on this ancient tradition and its reiterations in the international  humanitarian law and in today’s United Nations fora, Pope Francis has  repeatedly  called upon  the International Community  “to do all that it can to stop  and to prevent further  systematic  violence against ethnic and religious minorities.” The Holy See avails of this opportunity to convey its deep appreciation to countries in the region  and to all those who work tirelessly, even risking their lives, to provide assistance to some two  and  a  half  million  internally  displaced  persons  in  Iraq, to  12  million  Syrians  in  need  of  humanitarian assistance, of which four million are living as  refugees and seven and a half million  are internally displaced. Let us help these neighbourly countries as they care for and welcome  the refugees. Mr. President, Delay in action will only mean more people will die, be displaced or persecuted. Pope Francis exhorts us all to join our efforts to support a Middle East that will continue to be a welcoming  home for all its ethnic and religious groups. Thank you, Mr. President. (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 1 hour
(Vatican Radio) The Holy See delegation at the United Nations on Friday co-sponsored a panel on “The Relevance of Interreligious and Inter-Civilizational Dialogue to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.” During the discussion, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, spoke about the  role  of  religions  and  faith-based  play in the eradication of poverty. “Though primarily inspired by a spiritual and moral mission, religions and faith-based organizations  care  for  the  flourishing  of  the  entire  human  person,” Archbishop Auza said. “Because  human progress is an integral part of their vision and mission, besides places of worship they also  construct  community-building  centers,  hospitals,  schools  and  universities. Locally  rooted,  they  have  first-hand  knowledge  of  the  many  forms  of  poverty  and inequalities,” he continued. Archbishop Auza said religious organizations have both “grassroots-level credibility” and the advantage of being “universally networked.” In working to lift peoples out of poverty, religions and faith -based organizations fight  to remedy the structural causes of poverty,  injustice  and exclusion,” the Archbishop said. “To cite just one  example, Pope Francis exhorts us to say no to a financial system that rules rather than  serves, a system that produces inequalities rather than shared prosperity.”   The full intervention by Archbishop Auza is below   Remarks of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations at the Consultation on “The Relevance of Interreligious and Inter-Civilizational Dialogue to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals” United Nations, New York, March 27, 2015   Excellencies, Distinguished Panelists, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would  like to join the organizers of this Consultation and our fellow co-sponsors in  thanking you  for  your  attendance  today,  as  we  consider  the  importance  of  interreligious, intercultural and inter-civilizational dialogue in fostering human and  social development.  I would like to focus my remarks  on the  theme in connection  with the first  and the  sixteenth sustainable development goals. Thus: First,  I  would  talk  on  the  role  of  religions  and  faith-based  organizations  in  the achievement of the first and overarching goal of the eradication of poverty; and, then,  I  would  comment  on  the  nexus  between  interreligious,  intercultural  and  intercivilizational  dialogue  and  development  in  the  promotion  of  just  and  peaceful  societies, without which sustainable development will not be able to be achieved.  I  was  recently  invited  to  two  speak  on  two  events  that  had  religion  and  sustainable developments  goals  in  their  titles.  The  first  was  the  Special  Event  of  the  General Assembly  entitled  “World  Interfaith  Harmony:  Multi-religious  Partnership  for Sustainable Development,” which was held on February 6 at the Economic and Social Council  Chamber. The  second  was  a  roundtable  on  the  role  of  religions  and  faith-based organizations  in  the  eradication  of  extreme  poverty,  organized  by  the  World  Bank Group on February 18 at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. I  was  wondering  why  a  huge  financial  institution  like  the  World  Bank,  or  a  huge international  organization  like  the  United  Nations,  would  turn  to  religions  and  their organizations to better assure the realization of sustainable development goals. I  would  daringly  suppose  that  these  conferences  were  a  recognition  of  the contributions  of  religions  and  their  organizations  to  the  life  of  individuals  and  of  societies,  in  particular  the  help  they  provide  those  who  are  trying  to  emancipate themselves from various forms of extreme poverty. In fact, according to the World Bank President, Dr. Jim Kim, even with the rosy growth  forecasts  for the next 15 years, with growths like those between 2000 and pre-crisis 2008,  still the world could not eradicate extreme poverty. From the present 14.5% of the world’s  population extremely poor, the number could  only be reduced to 7% by 2030. However,  with the collaboration of  faith-based  and other civic organizations, we can bring down that  number down to just 3% by 2030. In real numbers, that is a significant contribution. In spite of their contributions, religions and faith-based organizations do not pretend  to  be  what  they  are  not.  From  the  Catholic  perspective,  religions  and  faith-based  organizations are not economic or political entities; they are neither a parallel World  Bank nor a parallel United Nations, nor identical with  non-faith-based NGOs. Their  strength does not lie in material resources or scientific expertise — which are, indeed,  very useful in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty  —  but in their being a spiritual  force  and  a  moral compass, in their being  “enablers” of  individuals and societies to recognize and respect the inherent dignity of each and every human person. Though primarily inspired by a spiritual and moral mission, religions and faith-based organizations  care  for  the  flourishing  of  the  entire  human  person.  Because  human progress is an integral part of their vision and mission, besides places of worship they also  construct  community-building  centers,  hospitals,  schools  and  universities. Locally  rooted,  they  have  first-hand  knowledge  of  the  many  forms  of  poverty  and inequalities.  They  have  grassroots-level  credibility  and  evidence-based  expertise. Their  local  presence favors dialogue  among  grassroots  groups. Universally  networked, they are effective advocates for causes like the eradication of extreme poverty and the promotion of just and peaceful societies. In working to lift peoples out of poverty, religions and faith -based organizations fight  to remedy the structural causes of poverty,  injustice  and exclusion.  To cite just one  example, Pope Francis exhorts us to say no to a financial system that rules rather than  serves, a system that produces inequalities rather than shared prosperity. Dear friends, The  nexus  between  interreligious  dialogue  and  the  fostering  of  peaceful  and  just  institutions  and  societies  reminds  me  of  a  book  entitled  Religion,  The  Missing  Dimension  of  Statecraft.  It  attempts  to  restore  religion  to  its  rightful  place  in  the  conduct of international diplomacy, in particular in resolving  conflicts.  I won’t give you  more  details  about  the  book  lest  you  accuse  me  of  marketeering…  especially considering that I won’t get a percentage in advertising it!  But I do urge you to read it.  And, albeit taking the opposite side of the argument, who would not remember today  Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order? We are here, because we believe in “dialogue” and not in “clash”. The good news  that it describes  is that religious  leaders and  believers play leading roles  in  the  fight  for  peace  and  justice;  in  defending  human  rights;  in  welcoming  the  marginalized; in ending various forms of exploitation, trafficking and violence; and in  building ways to achieve stable situations crucial for long-term development. The bad news is that there are glaring exceptions. Sadly we continue to witness violent cases that demonstrate the dark side of religious passion divorced from reason, of zeal  for one’s belief at the expense of fundamental human rights. The thesis of my remark is simple: namely, development can only thrive in the context  of peaceful societies. The evaluations  on  the Millennium Development Goals  clearly  demonstrate the direct relation between the two: Countries in conflict have lagged far  behind in the realization of the MDGs; indeed, many have suffered regressions. I  believe  that  fostering  the  action  of  religious  bodies  and  the  fruitful  cooperation  among religions is essential to forming and  consolidating  peaceful, just, accountable  and inclusive  societies, without which  the sustainable development goals cannot be  achieved. The  strength  of  religions  and  their  cooperation  to  foster  peaceful  and  inclusive  societies  essential  for  development  rests  on  their  capacity  to  raise  and  nurture prophets  and  builders  who  are  able  to  inspire  concrete  action,  develop  rapport  of  immediacy with individuals and communities,  and  rally  people to work together for  something greater than themselves. The  work  of  building  the  types  of  societies  and  institutions  needed  for  sustainable development  requires  patience  and  perseverance.  The  construction  takes  place through  thousands  of  daily  actions  that  are  building  blocks  of  just  and  peaceful  societies. It’s  expedited  when  people  are  able  to  transcend  selfishness,  a  spirit  of  vengeance, and the phobia that if others are helped to advance, you lose rather than  win. In bringing about these factors key to genuine development, the contributions of  religious believers working together cannot be overstated. Pope  Francis  has  emphasized  that  true  interreligious  dialogue  is  not  so  much  a  conversation  but  a  mutual journey. It’s  about  building  bridges  rather  than  walls. It  begins with a conviction that others have something good and valuable to say, with a  focus on what one has in common rather than with differences, with embracing rather  than excluding. It doesn’t ignore differences, because  differences  matter;  but it seeks  to understand those differences and treat the persons who hold them with respect. Interreligious dialogue is a dialogue of life in which different parties have the courage  to encounter others as they are, recognize the values they have in common and begin  to work together to have those shared values reflected in society. Among those values  are the conviction that religious faith is a good for society, that it should be part of the  solution  and  not  of  the  problem,  a  deep  respect  for  human  dignity  and  religious  freedom, a commitment to peaceful coexistence and, most of all, love for others based  on love for God. I  would  like  to  conclude  my  remarks  by  citing  Pope  Francis,  who  affirms  that “interreligious dialogue is a necessary condition for peace in the world” and that such  “a dialogue that seeks social peace and justice is in itself, beyond all merely practical  considerations, an ethical commitment that brings about a new social situation.” Thank you for the kind attention. (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 2 hours
O presidente da República da Itália, Sergio Mattarella, será recebido pelo papa Francisco no Vaticano neste próximo dia 18 de abril. Será a primeira vez que o novo presidente se encontra com o Santo Padre desde que foi eleito, em 3 de fevereiro passado. De acordo com o Quirinale, sede da presidência italiana, o e... 2 days 16 hours
O cardeal arcebispo de Sarajevo, dom Vinko Puljic, apresentou hoje na capital da Bósnia Herzegovina o lema e o logo da viagem que o papa Francisco fará no próximo dia 6 de junho ao país. O lema é “A paz esteja convosco” e o logo é uma pomba com o ramo de oliveira, símbolo da paz, e com a cruz, parte da qual é um tr... 2 days 16 hours
Durante a visita apostólica de 22 de março a Nápoles, dentro de uma ampla programação, o papa Francisco teve um encontro na catedral com os sacerdotes, religiosos, religiosas, consagradas e consagrados. Entre eles, havia sete conventos de freiras contemplativas de clausura, autorizadas a sair especialmente para o e... 2 days 16 hours
O plenário do Senado espanhol aprovou nesta quarta-feira uma moção apresentada pelo Grupo Parlamentar Popular para instar o governo “a apoiar e defender nas instâncias internacionais oportunas a candidatura da cultura da Semana Santa na Lista Representativa do Patrimônio Cultural Imaterial da Humanidade da Unesco”.... 2 days 16 hours
O pregador da Casa Pontifícia, Padre Raniero Cantalamessa, na manhã desta sexta-feira, na capela Redemptoris Mater, pronunciou a quinta e última pregação desta Quaresma, ante o Papa Francisco e vários cardeais, bispos e padres da Cúria Romana. O tema foi "Oriente e Ocidente Perante o Mistério da Salvação".   *** ... 2 days 19 hours
O Presidente da República da Itália, Sergio Mattarella, será recebido pelo Papa Francisco no Vaticano em 18 de abril. É a primeira vez que o novo presidente vai se encontrar com o Santo Padre desde que foi eleito, no dia 3 de fevereiro. Conforme relatado pela assessoria de imprensa do Quirinale, a reunião será re... 2 days 19 hours
No Domingo de Ramos renova-se a tradição de enviar da cidade espanhola de Elche ao Vaticano, as palmas que serão utilizadas na benção antes da celebração eucarística, e colocadas ao lado do obelisco no centro da praça. Outras palmas serão entregues ao Santo Padre, aos cardeais e fiéis presentes na Praça de São Pedr... 2 days 19 hours
O Papa Francisco está preocupado e reza pela situação das famílias cristãs no Iraque, e de outros grupos que foram expulsos de suas casas, especialmente na cidade de Mosul e na planície de Nínive. Por isso, ele enviou novamente ao Iraque o Cardeal Fernando Filoni, prefeito da Congregação para a Evangelização dos Po... 2 days 20 hours
Vatican City, 27 March 2015 (VIS) – On 10 March, Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, spoke at the 28th meeting of the Council for Human Rights. His speech, the majority of which is presented here below, emphasized the fundamental importance of religious freedom as well as the freedom of expression. “ The International Community is now confronted with a delicate, complex, and urgent challenge with regard to respect for religious sensibilities and the need for peaceful coexistence in an ever more pluralistic world: namely, that of establishing a fair relationship between freedom of expression and freedom of religion. The relationship between these fundamental human rights has proven difficult to manage and to address on either a normative or institutional level. On the other hand, it should be recognized ‘that the open, constructive, and respectful debate of ideas, as well as interfaith and intercultural dialogue at the local, national, and international levels, can play a positive role in combating religious hatred, incitement, and violence.’ Failure in this effort is evident when an excessive and irresponsible use of freedom of expression results in intimidation, threats, and verbal abuse and these infringe upon freedom of religion and can sadly lead to intolerance and violence. Likewise, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion has focused on the violence committed ‘in the name of religion’, and on its root causes.” “ Unfortunately, violence abounds today. If genocide means any act committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such, then the International Community as a whole is certainly witnessing a sort of genocide in some regions of the world, where the enslavement and sale of women and children, the killing of young men, the burning, beheading and the forcing into exile of people continue. In this context, the Delegation of the Holy See would like to submit to the joint reflection of the Human Rights Council that these and other unspeakable crimes are being committed against people belonging to ancient communities simply because their belief, social system, and culture are different from the fundamentalist combatants of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ group. The appeal to religion in order to murder people and destroy the evidence of human creativity developed in the course of history makes the on-going atrocities even more revulsive and damnable. An adequate response from the International Community, which should finally put aside sectarian interests and save lives, is a moral imperative.” “ Violence, however, does not stem from religion but from its false interpretation or its transformation into ideology. In addition, the same violence can derive from the idolatry of State or of the economy, and it can be an effect of secularization. All these phenomena tend to eliminate individual freedom and responsibility towards others. But, violence is always an individual’s act and a decision that implies personal responsibility. It is in fact by adopting an ethics of responsibility that the way toward the future can become fruitful, preventing violence and breaking the impasse between extreme positions: one that upholds any form of freedom of expression and the other that rejects any criticism of a religion. …” “ Freedom of expression that is misused to wound the dignity of persons by offending their deepest convictions sows the seeds of violence. Of course, freedom of expression is a fundamental human right that is always to be upheld and protected; in fact, it also implies the obligation to say in a responsible way what a person thinks in view of the common good. … It does not, however, justify relegating religion to a subculture of insignificant weight or to an acceptable easy target of ridicule and discrimination. Antireligious arguments even in the form of irony can surely be accepted, as it is acceptable to use irony about secularism or atheism. Criticism of religious thinking can even help dismantle various extremisms. But what can justify gratuitous insults and spiteful derision of the religious feelings and convictions of others who are, after all, equal in dignity? Can we make fun of the cultural identity of a person, of the colour of his skin, of the belief of his heart? A ‘right to offend’ does not exist. …” “ Several mutually interdependent issues like freedom of religion, freedom of expression, religious intolerance, and violence in the name of religion come together in the concrete situations the world faces today. The way forward seems to be the adoption of a comprehensive approach that would consider these issues together in domestic legislation and deal with them in such a way that they may facilitate a peaceful coexistence based on the respect of the inherent human dignity and rights of every person. While opting to be on the side of freedom, the consequences of its exercise cannot be ignored and they should respect this dignity and, thus, build a more humane and more brotherly global society.”... 2 days 23 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday morning began a special prayer for peace as part of the 500 centenary celebrations marking the birth of St Teresa of Avila.  The Pope led the hour of prayer at the Casa Santa Marta before saying Mass along with the Superior General of the Discalced Carmelite Order, Father Saverio Cannestrà. The worldwide Teresian family is participating in this initiative including Carmelite priest Fr Eugene McCaffrey from the Avila Carmelite Centre in Dublin, Ireland, who is also written on St Teresa. He spoke to Lydia O’Kane of his delight at the announcement. Listen to Lydia O'Kane's interview with Carmelite Fr Eugene McCaffrey  “We’re delighted with the whole initiative and a little taken by surprise… and we’re joining with the Holy Father and with the whole Church…” Father McCaffrey said that St Teresa “spent her whole life not just teaching prayer but praying and drawing people into the great mystery of the relationship with God. He added that his community would be having a “Birthday Party” to celebrate this milestone in the life of this Saint and Doctor of the Church. Below please find World Prayer for Peace, proposed to the Holy Father Pope Francis Dear brothers and sisters: The Order of Discalced Carmelites, friars, nuns, and seculars, the entire Teresian family, in union with the whole Church, today celebrates the 500th anniversary of the birth of its foundress, Saint Teresa of Jesus, Doctor of the Church. At the request of the Father General of the Order, during the span of this day a world hour of prayer for peace will take place in all convents, monasteries, and fraternities. I unite myself joyfully to this initiative and begin with these words our supplication to God, Father of all of us, so that, through the intercession of Christ Jesus, he will pour his Spirit over all the nations, so that dialogue among men will triumph over violence and the conflicts that scourge our world. To this prayer I invite all faithful Catholics, all Christians of other denominations, and also members of other religions and men and women of good will. "The world is all in flames [...] and are we to waste time asking for things that if God were to give them we would have one soul less in heaven? No, my Sisters, this is not the time to be discussing with God matters that have little importance" (Teresa of Jesus, Way of Perfection 1,5). The world is all in flames is the sorrowful cry of Teresa as she contemplates the conflicts, wars, and divisions in society and the Church of her time. Today we also make this our cry and present it to Jesus as a supplication: Lord, the world is all in flames! We, like Saint Teresa, know that by our own efforts we will not attain the precious gift of peace. Therefore, with our petition let us hold tightly to the power of the redeeming Cross of Christ: "Oh my Lord and my Mercy, my only Good! What more do I seek in this life than a union so close to you, that there can be no distinction between you and me? With such a companion, what can be difficult? With you so close to me, what dare I not attempt for your sake?" Joined to the Cross of Christ and from the hand of the Virgin, his Mother and our Mother, and from the hand of Teresa, we beseech God to increase the opportunities for dialogue and encounter among men, that we learn to ask for forgiveness so that peace may grow in the world like the fruit of the reconciliation that he has come to bring to us. Let us pray: (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 23 hours
O Presidente Barack Obama e primeira-dama Michelle Obama receberão o papa Francisco em 23 de setembro. O anúncio foi feito nesta quinta-feira pelo porta-voz da Casa Branca. "Durante a visita, o presidente e o Papa darão continuidade ao diálogo, iniciado durante a visita do presidente ao Vaticano, em março de 2014... 2 days 23 hours

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Vatican City, Mar 29, 2015 / 07:32 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis' personal envoy to Iraq will return to the country during Holy Week, bringing with him the pontiff's love and solidarity along with a special gift from the diocese of Rome: cake. 1 day 21 min
Rome, Italy, Mar 29, 2015 / 06:32 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis on Palm Sunday said that imitating the humility of Jesus is what makes Holy Week "holy," and encouraged attendees to imitate Jesus on his path of humiliation as the week unfolds. 1 day 1 hour
Los Angeles, Calif., Mar 29, 2015 / 05:22 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- California missionary Father Junipero Serra's canonization is "long overdue," says a university professor concerned that the priest's history has been politicized and misrepresented. 1 day 2 hours
Vatican City, Mar 28, 2015 / 12:15 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolences following the death of Catholicos Dinkha IV, patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, describing him as an "important spiritual leader, a courageous and wise pastor."
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Erbil, Iraq, Mar 28, 2015 / 07:00 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Hoping to awaken the world conscience on Iraq, a Pontifical delegation traveled to Erbil and Dohuk to foster local communion and shed light on the dramatic plight of Christians in the country.

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Havana, Cuba, Mar 28, 2015 / 05:03 pm (EWTN News).- As the fifty year economic embargo and diplomatic isolation between the U.S. and Cuba comes to a close, the thaw of their historically icy relationship could have more than just social and cultural implications. 2 days 2 hours
Vatican City, Mar 28, 2015 / 02:56 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- On the 500th anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila's birth, Pope Francis praised the Spanish mystic and reformer for her witness of self-gift to God, as well as her particular relevance during this Year of Consecrated Life.
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Vatican City, Mar 27, 2015 / 12:24 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis stopped by to visit with 150 of Rome's homeless in the Sistine Chapel after they were invited for dinner and a private tour by the Vatican. 2 days 19 hours

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From: CWN provides reliable world news and commentary from a Catholic perspective, availble exclusively at CatholicCulture.org.
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Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako called upon the UN to address the "catastrophic situation" facing Christians in Iraq, in a March 27 presentation to the Security ... 2 days 20 hours
Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization, is traveling to Iraq to spend Holy Week and Easter with embattled Christians there, the Vatican has announced. ... 2 days 20 hours
Police in India have made an arrest in connection with the gang-rape of an elderly Catholic nun earlier this month. Police reported that a suspect had been detained in Mumbai, and was ... 2 days 20 hours
In his 4th Lenten Sermon of the year, on Friday, March 27, Father Raniero Cantalamessa concluded a series of talks that compared Eastern and Western Christian approaches to ... 2 days 20 hours
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, will attend the Summit of the Americas in April. The meeting in Panama, the 7th in a series of summits, will be the first at ... 2 days 20 hours
A third German-speaking cardinal has joined in questioning the notion that the Church must change its teaching on marriage, with Cardinal Kurt Koch saying that Church leaders should not be ... 2 days 21 hours
More than 500,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the release of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman who has been sentenced to death on a questionable blasphemy ... 2 days 21 hours

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WASHINGTON—Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran bishops visited with young mothers and children who have fled violence in their home countries and are now incarcerated at Dilley Detention Center in Dilley, Texas, on March 27. The faith leaders called upon the federal government to halt the practice of family detentions, citing the harmful effects on mothers, children and the moral character of society.

Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, M.Sp.S. of San Antonio, Texas, whose archdiocese includes Dilley, was joined by Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, and Bishop James Tamayo of Laredo, Texas. Bishops Michael Rinehart and H. Julian Gordy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America also joined them on the visit. Since last summer, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has detained hundreds of families at detention centers in New Mexico, Texas, and Pennsylvania, under a new family detention policy aimed at families fleeing violence in Central America.

“After this visit, my primary question is: Why? Why do we feel compelled to place in detention such vulnerable individuals –traumatized young mothers with children fleeing persecution in their home countries?” said Archbishop García-Siller following the visit. “A great nation such as ours need not incarcerate the most vulnerable in the name of deterrence. The moral character of a society is judged by how it treats the most vulnerable in our midst. Our nation’s family detention policy is shameful and I implore our elected officials to end it."

Bishop Elizondo, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, added: “The detention of families serves no purpose and undermines due process. It especially harms children, who experience emotional and psychological harm from detention. The policy is a stain on the administration’s record on immigration.”

Bishop James Tamayo of Laredo, Texas, said humane alternatives to detention exist and should b...
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