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(Vatican Radio) A Catholic climate scientist and a secular Jewish feminist formed an “unlikely alliance” in the Vatican press office on Wednesday to present a two day conference entitled ‘People and Planet First: the Imperative to Change Course'. The conference, which will take place at the Pontifical Augustinianum University in Rome, includes some 200 political, religious and civil society leaders from all continents who’ll be discussing Pope Francis’ new encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ in light of a climate summit to be held in Paris next December.   The two day conference, which opens on Thursday, has been organised by the Pontifical Justice and Peace Council, together with CIDSE, an international alliance of Catholic development agencies. Philippa Hitchen has the details…. Listen:  Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein, known for her bestselling book ‘ No Logo ’, admitted she was surprised and moved to be invited to the Vatican to speak about ways of mobilizing public opinion and putting pressure on political leaders. The Pope’s encyclical, she said, is a poetic, but also courageous and common sense document that speaks not just to the Catholic world, but “for every person living on this planet”. It forcefully confronts the fact that our unbridled models of development and technological progress have unleashed “natural forces that are far more powerful than even our most ingenious machines”, yet many are still in denial about the path of environmental destruction we’re headed down. Even critics who accept the document’s moral authority and scientific data, she said, insist the Pope should leave the economic policy to the experts. “ I forcefully disagree. The truth is we have arrived at this dangerous place partly because many of those economic experts have failed us, wielding their powerful technocratic skills without wisdom. They produced models that placed scandalously little value on human life, particularly on the lives of the poor, and placed outsized value on protecting corporate profits and economic growth ” Echoing Klein’s warning was German scientist Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The new encyclical, he said, must not be reduced to a document on the environment but should be understood for the revolutionary way it links ecology on a par with poverty reduction, describing the planet's natural resources as “a common good of all and for all” “ This statement on the common destination of goods is for the first time in the history of Catholic social teaching, applied to global carbon sinks, which includes the oceans, the atmosphere, the forests and partially land.....the use of this Commons is a basic human right and its distribution is to be applied according to the principles of justice ” Another German, Bernt Nilles,  General Secretary of the CIDSE network, which marks its half century this year, noted the Catholic Church already has a strong track record of campaigning on environmental and social justice concerns– including a statement of specific requests about ending fossil fuel dependency, presented by bishops to world leaders attending the last climate summit in Lima last December. Ahead of the Paris summit, he said, hundreds of thousands of people are preparing to converge in a faith pilgrimage to insist the politicians come up with a “fair, ambitious, legally binding agreement” on moving from carbon to renewable energy economies in the next couple of decades. World leaders must hear the voice of the most vulnerable, Nilles said,, but as the Pope’s encyclical points out, this is also about me and my lifestyle too: that’s why CIDSE has launched a new website ‘ Change for the Planet, Care for the People ’ to help each one of us be a part of the growing global movement towards a more sustainable way of living. (from Vatican Radio)... 9 min 55 sec
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday invited the faithful to unite in prayer for the good of  the Greek people. A note released by the Holy See Press Office says that the Pope has expressed his closeness to the Greek people who are suffering the effects of the current crisis. Describing the news from Greece “regarding the economic and social situation of the country as worrying”, the Pope “conveys his closeness to all the Greek people, with a special thought for the many families gravely beset by such a complex and keenly felt human and social crisis”. “The dignity of the human person must remain at the center of any political and technical  debate, as well as in the taking of responsible decisions” the Pope continues. Concluding, Pope Francis invites all the faithful to “unite in prayer for the good of the beloved Greek people”.  (from Vatican Radio)... 59 min 3 sec
Diante do fenômeno cada vez maior da migração e da emergência para com os refugiados, "vemos uma Europa muito confusa, que parece privada de uma verdadeira cultura de acolhimento e de uma verdadeira solidariedade entre os países que a acompanham". Afirmou o cardeal Josip Bozanic, arcebispo de Zagreb, responsável pe... 2 hours 30 min
Vatican City, 1 July 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to Bishop Gregoire Ghabroyan, administrator of the Patriarchate of Cilicia of the Armenians, for the funeral of His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, who died on 25 June, to be held in the Cathedral of St. Elie and St. Gregory the Illuminator in Beirut. The message was read during the funeral ceremony by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. “It is with great sadness that I have learned of the return to the house of the Father of our beloved brother in Christ, His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians. I conserve in my heart the memory of my encounter with him, accompanied by the bishops of the Synod and the faithful of this Patriarchal Church, on the occasion of the commemoration of the victims of the Metz Yegern and the proclamation of St. Gregory of Narek as as Doctor of the universal Church. It was as if these events lived in the vicinity of the relics of the apostle St. Peter had marked the long and faithful journey of your 'Caput et Pater', revealing some of his most characteristic aspects. “He was, above all, deeply rooted on the Rock that is Christ. He held that the most valuable treasure that a bishop is called upon to minister to is the faith that comes from apostolic preaching. His Beatitude spared nothing in ensuring its dissemination, especially by promoting the continuing formation of the clergy so that, even in difficult contexts, the ministers of God renew their adhesion to Christ, the sole hope and consolation for humanity. “He dedicated himself to ensuring that the just commemoration of the sufferings of the Armenian people throughout their history become an action of God's grace considering the example of martyrs and witnesses, and at the same time obtained from Him the balm of consolation and reconciliation, which alone may heal the deepest wounds of souls and of peoples. “Patriarch Nerses was finally able to rejoice with the Armenian people at the elevation of St. Gregory of Narek to the luminous title of Doctor of the Church. His Beatitude wished the spiritual influence of this great saint be an example for pastors and faithful, convinced that through St. Gregory of Narek everyone can experience the wonders that the Lord is able to achieve in the heart that opens up to Him in daily simplicity and humility, and in solidarity with the drama of humanity, through ceaseless intercession. “Invited to perpetuate this triple heritage left to us by Patriarch Nerses, we implore the Holy Spirit to continue to renew the face of the Armenian Catholic Church, through the commitment of pastors and faithful, and we also entrust to the Father of all Mercy the labours , linked to the the limits and weaknesses of the condition of the pilgrims on their way to the eternal homeland”.... 3 hours 25 min
(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People has issued its Message for Sea Sunday, which is on July 12, 2015. The Message said the Catholic Church would like to express her appreciation to seafarers in general for their fundamental contribution to the international trade. It also made special mention of the role seafarers play in assisting and rescuing migrants at sea. “Since time immemorial seafarers have fulfilled the obligation to rescue people in distress at sea under any conditions,” the Message reads. “Seafarers are professionally qualified in their work and trained to handle a number of emergency situations but rescuing hundreds of men, women and children acting franticly while trying to reach the safety of the ship, is something that no training course in maritime school has prepared them for,” it continues. “Furthermore, the physical effort in doing everything is conceivable to rescue as many persons as possible and sometimes the view of numerous lifeless bodies floating on the sea, are a traumatic experience which leaves the crews exhausted and psychologically distressed needing specific psychological and spiritual support.” The full Message is below   PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE PASTORAL CARE FOR MIGRANTS AND ITINERANT PEOPLE Sea Sunday Message (12th July 2015)   To transport goods and products around the world, the global economy deeply rely on the maritime industry supported by a workforce of around 1.2 million seafarers, who at sea and in the oceans frequently facing the strong and powerful forces of nature, are managing ships of any kind and dimension. As ports are built far away from the cities and because of the fast turnaround in loading and unloading the cargo, the crews sailing the ships are like “invisible” people. As individuals we do not acknowledge the importance and the benefits that the maritime profession brings to our life and we become aware of their work and sacrifices only when disasters strike. In spite of the technological development that makes life on board more comfortable and easier communicating with their loved ones, the seafarers are forced to spend long months in a restricted space, away from their families. Restrictive and unjust regulations often limit the shore leave when in port and the continuous threat of piracy in many sea routes add stress while sailing. We are still confident that the ratification and coming into force of the Maritime Labor Convention 2006 by a growing number of countries,  accompanied by effective inspections by flag States will result in a tangible improvement of the labor and working conditions on board of all ships. The present day with the situation of war, violence and political instability in several countries , a new phenomenon has been affecting the shipping industry. Since last year, alongside with the coast guards and the naval forces of Italy, Malta and European Union, the merchant vessels transiting in the Mediterranean Sea have been actively involved in what is the daily occurrence of rescuing thousands and thousands of migrants trying to reach mainly the coasts of Italy in any kind of overcrowded and substandard crafts .  Since time immemorial seafarers have fulfilled the obligation to rescue people in distress at sea under any conditions. However, as it has been stressed by other maritime organizations, for the merchant vessels rescuing migrants at sea remain a health, safety and security risk for seafarers’. Commercial ships are designed to transport goods (containers, oil, gas, etc.) and all the facilities (accommodation, kitchen, bathroom, lavatories, etc.) are custom-made for the limited number of crew members on board. For these reasons merchant vessels are not equipped to provide assistance to a large number of migrants. Seafarers are professionally qualified in their work and trained to handle a number of emergency situations but rescuing hundreds of men, women and children acting franticly while trying to reach the safety of the ship, is something that no training course in maritime school has prepared them for. Furthermore, the physical effort in doing everything is conceivable to rescue as many persons as possible and sometimes the view of numerous lifeless bodies floating on the sea, are a traumatic experience which leaves the crews exhausted and psychologically distressed needing specific psychological and spiritual support. On Sea Sunday as Catholic Church we would like to express our appreciation to the seafarers in general for their fundamental contribution to the international trade. This year in particular, we would like to recognize the great humanitarian effort done by the crews of merchant vessels that without hesitation, sometimes risking their own life, have engaged in many rescuing operations saving thousands of migrants lives. Our gratitude goes also to all the chaplains and volunteers of the Apostleship of the Sea for their daily commitment in serving the people of the sea; their presence in the docks is the sign of the Church in their midst and shows the compassionate and merciful face of Christ. In conclusion, while we are appealing to the governments in Europe and in the countries of origin of migration flows, as well as to the international organizations to cooperate in searching for a durable and definite political solution to the instability in those countries, we would like also to call for more resources to be committed not only for search and rescue missions but also to prevent the trafficking and exploitation of persons escaping from a condition of conflict and poverty.   Cardinal Antonio Maria Vegliò President                                                                                                  Joseph Kalathiparambil                                                                                                                Secretary   (from Vatican Radio)... 4 hours 36 min
Oliver Plunkett nasceu no dia 01 de novembro de 1625 em Loughcrew na Irlanda. Desde cedo aspirava à vida sacerdotal, mas devido as fortes perseguições e conflitos religiosos não podia dar seguimento aos seus planos. Até os dezesseis anos foi educado pelo primo Patrick Plunkett, abade do Mosteiro de Santa Maria. Par... 5 hours 3 min
(Vatican Radio) The United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday held a special panel on the effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, told the panel the international community has not always been effective in preventing and curbing terrorism, especially in the Middle East and different parts of Africa. “While considering the negative effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, we should also be clear in our reasoning that these effects will continue, and indeed will become worse, if the causes of terrorism are not clearly and swiftly addressed by the national States concerned and the international community,” said Archbishop Tomasi. “Terrorism also facilitates trafficking of persons and weapons, thus creating a black market for human commerce,” he continued. “Where terrorism has effectively taken hold, irreparable social and cultural damage has been done that will resonate through future generations.”   The full text of Archbishop Tomasi’s intervention is below   Statement by His Excellency Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva at the 29th Session of the Human Rights Council Panel on the Effects of Terrorism on the Enjoyment by All Persons of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Geneva, 30 June 2015   Mr. President,                 The Holy See is grateful to the Human Rights Council for devoting a special panel of this 29th Session to discuss the effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.  In particular, we acknowledge the thorough and enlightening report of the Special Rapporteur.  Terrorism is a terrible reality that is affecting all parts of the globe, destroying countless lives, threatening societies and annihilating cultures and their histories.  Sadly, one must admit that the international community has not always been effective in preventing and curbing terrorism, especially in the Middle East and different parts of Africa.  Since 2000, the world has witnessed a staggering 500% increase in the number of victims of terrorists attacks.  In particular, the past two years have seen a startling increase in the body count of innocent victims at the hands of ISIS and Boko Haram groups, among many others.  In 2013, for example, 82% of those victims were killed in just five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria. While considering the negative effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, we should also be clear in our reasoning that these effects will continue, and indeed will become worse, if the causes of terrorism are not clearly and swiftly addressed by the national States concerned and the international community. Mr. President,                 The Holy See Delegation would like to denounce most especially terrorist acts carried out in the name of religion.  As Pope Francis states, “Religious fundamentalism, even before it eliminates human beings by perpetrating horrendous killings, eliminates God himself, turning him into a mere ideological pretext.”   Terrorism is a political means to influence behavior and to reach objectives through fear.  Acts of terrorism cause the destruction of human rights, political freedoms and the rule of law.  Terrorism is the antithesis of the shared values and commitments which serve as the basis for peaceful coexistence domestically and internationally.  Indeed, with the proliferation of terrorism and the impunity which its proponents enjoy, we can say that there is also a “globalization of terrorism”.  Developing from “a subversive strategy typical of certain extremist organizations, aimed at the destruction of material goods or the killing of people, terrorism has now become a shadowy network of political collusion,”  in which antagonistic political powers are tempted to play a role by supplying resources of modern technology, advanced weaponry and financing to these terrorist organizations.  A situation is thus created where the positive political will of the major players is required in order to address and resolve the problem of global terrorism and its disastrous effects. Mr. President,                 The tragic humanitarian and social effects of terrorism are already well known.  In the first place, the gravest violation is complete contempt for innocent human life, the basic right upon which all other human rights are founded. “As such, there is an obligation on the part of the State to protect the right to life of every person within its territory and no derogation from this right is permitted, even in times of public emergency.”   Since terrorism does not recognize the dignity of its victims, there remains no other basis or logic by which the other fundamental rights and freedoms of the human person will be respected.  As such, we see a sort of “domino effect”, namely, once you deny a person his/her right to life, you abuse other fundamental rights, including the right to freedom of belief and worship, the right to expression and freedom of conscience, the right to education and the right to be treated with equal dignity as any other citizen of a nation, despite difference in religion, social and economic status, language or ethnicity.                  Due to the violence of new forms of terrorism and the breach of international humanitarian law, the international community faces the challenge of responding to the influx of refugees fleeing these troubled areas to find a safe haven.  Those receiving countries must not only be lauded for their willingness to provide protection, but they too need the assistance of the international community to deal with the humanitarian crisis so as to avoid the eruption of further problems on their own soil.  Terrorism also facilitates trafficking of persons and weapons, thus creating a black market for human commerce.  Where terrorism has effectively taken hold, irreparable social and cultural damage has been done that will resonate through future generations.  By destroying the infrastructure of cities and regions, especially by attacking government buildings, schools and religious institutions, terrorism literally brings a society to its knees.  In addition the demolition of cultural and ancient sites by terrorists threatens to annihilate the history of cultures and populations.  Such destruction creates the breeding grounds for more violent extremism, thus continuing the vicious circle of violence propagating further violence. Mr. President,                 Apart from the devastating social and humanitarian effects which, in reality, are much more immediate and concrete, the ongoing negative political effects of terrorism will continue to resonate, in many ways in an unforeseeable manner for generations yet to come. The political impact of terrorism is multifaceted and the parties occultly facilitating or supporting, financially or otherwise, terrorist activity for ulterior political agendas are not always so clearly identified. Nevertheless, it can hardly be doubted that terrorism has political effects and influences the political process, at least in democratic and partially democratic states.  In addition to creating an environment of political instability for the countries and regions which suffer the most from terrorism, the political effect on a global level continues to grow.  Governments throughout the world, in some cases using terrorism as an excuse, are preoccupied with national security and counterterrorism efforts, some of which also infringe upon the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.  This shows that the political instability and fragmentation caused by terrorism creates an equal and opposite reaction with serious political consequences.  In this sense, collaborative effort on the part of the international community is all the more necessary.  Efforts to reach a mutual approach to fighting terrorism must always give priority to the victims of terrorism; financial, political or ideological motives should never take precedence over coming to a unified vision as to how the plague of terrorism should be combatted.                 The most obvious way in which terrorism can influence the political process is by bringing about changes in public opinion, which Governments then tend to take into account when formulating their policies. It can be very hard for Governments to resist the pressure from public opinion for a strong reaction in the wake of a terrorist attack. The impact of terrorism on public opinion, however, is not as straightforward or predictable as one might imagine. There is no uniform public response to a terrorist attack. Nor do terrorist attacks necessarily change people’s political opinions. The greater people’s confidence in their own values, the less likely they are to change as a result of a major event, like a terrorist attack. Finally, the role and the power of media in forming and informing public opinion when addressing terroristic events are of the utmost importance. Mr. President,                 The Holy See is deeply convinced that terrorism, especially those forms that derive from religious extremism, must be confronted with concerted political efforts by all players, especially by all the local and regional parties involved, as well as by the major international players, whose role is indispensable in negotiating and finding a viable solution, diplomatic or otherwise, to protect life and the future stability of the regions touched by terrorism.  The response to terrorism cannot be merely by way of military action.  Political participation, fair and just legal systems, and cutting all forms of public and private support for terrorism are means not only to respond, but also to prevent, terrorism.  It is also important to remember the positive obligation that States have to undertake in order to protect their citizens and, where that is not possible, to collaborate with other regional authorities in order to address the threats posed by terrorist groups. Thank you, Mr. President. (from Vatican Radio)... 5 hours 16 min
(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Peter Turkson, the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, on Tuesday addressed UNICEF House at the United Nations in New York. He spoke about the new Encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato si’, and how it relates to children.   The full text of Cardinal Turkson’s remarks are blow   Remarks on Laudato si’ to Child-Focused Agencies UNICEF House, 30 June 2015 Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace Thank you for this opportunity to address you. I have prepared some brief remarks  to summarize the insights of Laudato si’ into the choices we have to make today to leave future generations a better “common home.” Then I will offer a child-focused interpretation of the encyclical. I hope this will stimulate your thinking as you contribute to the growing social movement to fight climate change. A. How the Encyclical Talks about Children and the Future of our Common Home You are probably aware of the broad vision of Laudato si’. Among the main points made by Pope Francis are that •             humanity is not separate from the environment in which we live; rather humanity and the natural environment are one; •             the accelerating change in climate is undeniable, catastrophic, worsened by human activities, but also amenable to human intervention; •             the grave errors that increase our disastrous indifference to the environment include a throwaway-culture of consumerism, and a naïve confidence that technological advances and undirected commercial markets will inevitably solve our environmental problems; •             we must address the ethical nature of our crisis, both through dialogue, and by recovering our fundamental spiritual dimension. As Pope Francis said in an earlier document, Evangelii Gaudium,  “Realities are more important than ideas.” Laudato si’ is not an abstract document. It resonates with our lived human experience. And that includes the experience of family life. The Holy Father’s embrace of the multi-generational human family resonates very strongly with me as an African. Many African traditional cultures share a belief in the real presence among us of the generations who have gone before us and those who will be born later. Today’s family contains more than just those who are alive right now. So I sense the pain in his words when he laments the consequences for children when families are forced to migrate after local animals and plants disappear due to changes in climate; “this in turn affects the livelihood of the poor, who are then forced to leave their homes, with great uncertainty for their future and that of their children” (§25). What anguish we should feel that thousands of plant and animal species are lost every year, so our children will never see them (§33). The Holy Father is deeply critical of parents who selfishly waste resources on what is not really needed, leaving their children with less chance to build lives of their own later on (§162). He ties this in with the throw-away culture which not only allows the sexual exploitation of children but also the “abandonment of the elderly who no longer serve our interests…. Is it not the same relativistic logic which justifies buying the organs of the poor for resale or use in experimentation, or eliminating children because they are not what their parents wanted?” (§123). In contrast to these remarks, Pope Francis is confident that planning can improve when local populations are fully involved, because “they are concerned about their own future and that of their children, and can consider goals transcending immediate economic interest” (§183). Cooperatives can also attend to the needs of future generations while they generate “a greater sense of responsibility, a strong sense of community, a readiness to protect others, a spirit of creativity and a deep love for the land. They are also concerned about what they will eventually leave to their children and grandchildren” (§179). Both the critical remarks and the avenues of solution cluster around the Pope’s key question: what sort of world will we bequeath to future generations (§160). I will turn to this in detail in the next section. B. The Encyclical through the Eyes of a Child As I have shown, both in vocabulary and in topics, Laudato si’ takes children into account. But we can go further. We can explore the perspective of a child as a key to understanding the encyclical. Commentators have already noticed a simple elegance in the style of Laudato si’ and even a child-like quality. For instance, there are similarities between important points in the encyclical and the insights of the popular 1988 book by American author Robert Fulghum called All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Their sage advice is that we should recover the lessons we all learn as children, lessons like “Share. Be kind. Clean up after yourself. All things in moderation. Make time for wonder.”  Care is central; it is part of the title, “Care for our Common Home.” It is repeated dozens of times. This is very important. Care goes further than “stewardship” (mentioned just twice in the English version). Good stewards take responsibility and fulfil their obligations to manage and to render an account. But one can be a good steward without feeling connected. If one cares, however, one is connected. To care is to allow oneself to be affected by another, so much so that one’s path and priorities change. Children understand these bonds: We’re all connected. Plants and animals and human beings; strangers and friends and enemies; God and humanity and the world. Children’s faith in things like magic or the impossible comes directly from that belief that everything is connected. So does their sense of morality. It's not only that hurting people is bad. It's also, when your sister is sad, your parents are sad or even your dog is sad, you get sad, too. We’re all deeply connected. With his integral ecology, the Pope emphasizes that we are completely connected, integrated, with everything and everyone. Thus he invokes care for our children to formulate his pivotal question about the environment: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?”(§160). We care about our children; we care for our children, so much so that parents will sacrifice enormously – even their lives – to ensure the safety and flourishing of their children. (Remember the beautiful lesson in Le Petit prince of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: the fox teaches the boy that the flower has meaning in relation to his care for it.) With caring, the hard line between self and other softens, blurs, even disappears. So when we cast aside anything precious in the world, we destroy part of ourselves too because we are completely connected. This helps to explain why the Church promotes the greatest respect for human life, from conception to natural death. Destruction of human life at any stage violates the absolutely fundamental human dignity upon which all human rights and responsibilities rest. The Pope could have asked his pivotal question (“What kind of world…?”) in a different manner. His chosen formulation – care for and about our children and the world that future generations will inherit – is how he conveys the seriousness of the looming catastrophe. It is almost parable-like: “There once was a society that forgot to care for its children…” Thinking about the needs and the world of children now and yet to be born is also an index of justice. The common good is not just horizontal (the good of everyone now) but vertical (the good of future generations). Indeed, some North American indigenous peoples insist on thinking about seven generations onwards: today’s decisions must consider consequences for the next seven generations. Some might say that this would eliminate all innovation because it sets too high a demand for predicting the unpredictable. But look at it this way: knowing that processes have cumulative effects, the seven-generation requirement would make us react quickly to modest measurements – for instance, a small amount of pollution in the first few years of a new process – rather than wait until the negative consequences are much larger, affecting our grandchildren and their children. Pope Francis agrees; “The burden of proof” on the latest advancements, he writes, “is effectively reversed”, our immediate responsibility “to demonstrate that the proposed activity will not cause serious harm to the environment or to those who inhabit it” (§187). Laudato si’ brings us back to basics, to the fundamentals of human existence. Often children approach these basics innocently, yet profoundly, when they ask “Why?” Pope Francis is unafraid of this and other huge questions that children also ask: “What is the purpose of our life in this world? Why are we here? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts? What need does the earth have of us?” (§160). Indeed, in Laudato si’ he rejoices in such questions as the beginning of the dialogues our world so desperately need. The Holy Father wishes to inspire a change of minds and hearts. Through our children’s eyes we can discover once again the beauty, the wonder, the majesty of our planet and our existence, the dazzling panoply of life. Through their questions and challenges we are brought face to face with our hypocrisies, the compromises we have made to our values, the choices we need re-examine in light of what we know in our hearts to be right and true. This child-like lens turns us to who we are as the adults of today: “It is no longer enough, then, simply to state that we should be concerned for future generations. We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity. Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us. The issue is one which dramatically affects us, for it has to do with the ultimate meaning of our earthly sojourn” (§160). C. A Common Home for All In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis invites us into a very similar meditation. What will make us real, he says, what will make us the people we were born and called to be, is our dedication to one another, our willingness to sacrifice for our children and all the children that will ever walk on this world, whether today or in the future. “Even the fleeting life of the least of beings is the object of God’s love,” says Pope Francis (§77), and should be objects of human love too. As the Pope acknowledges, the path before us is a challenging one, one that demands--particularly from the developed world—humility, sobriety and sacrifice, that all may share in the boundless wonders and blessings that God has intended for us in his creation, and for many millennia to come. Your organizations focus on children. I hope you feel inspired to bring your understanding and profound experience with children into the growing social movement to fight climate change. I know you will have many opportunities to do so. Children and youth are yearning to make a difference in many countries. Your organizations – and the Church too – must collaborate with them and enhance their efforts. Their stake in the climate change battle is greater than ours! The UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, from 30 November to 11 December of this year, is a key moment. But let us not focus only on that event. We are all brothers and sisters – the adults of today, our children, those who have gone before and those who will come after. We are one family. I pray for God to bless us as we strive to take care of our common home. Thank you. (from Vatican Radio)... 5 hours 55 min
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A segunda etapa da viagem do Santo Padre à América Latina é a Bolívia. Vindo do Equador, Francisco vai pousar no dia 8 de julho, depois de três horas de voo, no aeroporto de El Alto. Este é o aeroporto mais alto do mundo, a mais de 4000 metros de altura. Dada a brevidade do seu tempo nesta região, estima-se a prese... 21 hours 10 min
Alguns dizem que não. Enquanto as tvs ocidentais mostram as ruas das cidades americanas, de São Francisco a Nova York, cheias de bandeiras arco-íris para comemorar a decisão do Supremo Tribunal dos Estados Unidos, que, no dia 26 de Junho legalizou os matrimônios homossexuais em todos dos Estados Unidos, o Texas se ... 21 hours 13 min
O Santo Padre Francisco termina a sua viagem pela América Latina no Paraguai, onde estará do 10 ao 12 de julho. Ao chegar, na sexta-feira, haverá uma cerimônia de boas-vindas no aeroporto, mas sem discursos. O que sim vai ter é música Guarani inspirada nas reduções jesuítas. Em seguida, será a visita de cortesia ao... 21 hours 16 min
O papa Francisco nomeou neste sábado o cardeal Ricardo Blázquez como novo membro da Congregação para as Igrejas Orientais. O cardeal Bláquez é arcebispo de Valladolid e presidente da Conferência Episcopal Espanhola (CEE). Também nomeou como novos membros deste dicastério o cardeal Peter Erdo, arcebispo de Eszter... 21 hours 21 min
O presidente da Rússia, Vladimir Putin nesta segunda-feira prometeu o apoio de Moscou a uma aliança regional contra o auto-proclamado califado islâmico (ISIS por sua sigla em Inglês), em uma reunião com o ministro do Exterior da Síria, Walid al Mualem. O líder russo disse que, para combater eficazmente o terrorismo... 21 hours 24 min
(Vatican Radio) For the second time since his election on 13 March 2013, Pope Francis is returning to the continent of his birth – Latin America – on a journey which will see him interact and communicate in his own language - Spanish. The journey to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay, which is scheduled to last from 5 to 13 July, was presented on Tuesday morning at the Vatican Press Office by its Director, Father Federico Lombardi SJ. The underlying theme of the journey to all three counties, ravaged by conquest, exploitation and conflict in years not so long gone by is that of reconciliation and renewal. Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni :  Pointing out that this is the first time Pope Francis will visit three different nations during a single journey, Fr Lombardi also noted that just as he did in Europe by choosing Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina as the first nations to reach out to at the beginning of his pontificate, here too he is starting with the “peripheries” as far as the Latin American and global scenarios are concerned. It will also be the first journey – Lombardi observed - in which Spanish – the Pope’s mother-tongue – is spoken throughout, giving him plenty of occasions to set aside prepared texts (including 22 official discourses) and to talk and converse freely with his audiences. Lombardi also said that in just seven days Pope Francis will be experiencing enormous changes in temperature and in altitude: from 3°  to 40° Centigrade, from sea level to over 4,100 meters above sea level as he travels from the Atlantic to the Andes and in between. A swift glance at the Pope’s schedule highlights the fact that the journey will be intense for other reasons as well! All in all, Pope Francis is to spend 48 hours in each country, and each time he will be involved in a number of “common” events such as an audience with each President; a “sit-down” with the bishops, an encounter with civil society (representatives of business, indigenous people, the world of education, culture); a meeting with consecrated people. Of course in each country he will also be involved in other events and situations as he is scheduled to visit a home for the aged run by the Sisters of Mother Teresa in Ecuador, a prison (one of the largest in Latin America) and a meeting with members of the World Meeting of Popular Movements in Bolivia; a children’s hospital and a slum area in Paraguay. Another important feature of the journey will be a Marian one as Pope Francis will gather in prayer before the “Virgen Dolorosa” in Quito and before Our Lady of Caacupé 40 km from Asuncion. One important characteristic of the whole journey – Father Lombardi pointed out - has to do with the wealth of traditions, cultures and languages that are present on the territory. The Pope’s respect for the diversity and value of each of these is also reflected in all of the liturgies and celebrations. Lombardi recalled that Pope Saint John Paul II travelled to all three nations: Ecuador in 1985, Bolivia and Paraguay in 1988 where he had a memorable meeting with minors, canonized Rocco Gonzales and was witness to the last days of General Alfredo Stroessner’s cruel dictatorship. Father Lombardi concluded a detailed account of the Pope’s day-to-day schedule, pointing out that this journey is Francis’ “homecoming” in the sense that it is the first time he will be back in his own continent since travelling to Rome for the conclave in 2013, and that he will finally be speaking his own language. “All this – he said – should make for a particularly intense occasion for communication”.    (from Vatican Radio)... 23 hours 28 min
Apresentamos as intenções de oração do Santo Padre Francisco para o mês de julho confiadas ao Apostolado da Oração. Universal: Política e caridade Para que a responsabilidade política seja vivida a todos os níveis como uma forma elevada de caridade. Pela Evangelização: Os pobres na América Latina Para q... 23 hours 58 min
Na manhã desta terça-feira, o Papa Francisco tomou a iniciativa de saudar Bento XVI, que foi para Castel Gandolfo passar duas semanas de férias. A conversa entre os dois durou meia hora, informou padre Federico Lombardi, diretor da Sala de Imprensa da Santa Sé. No ano passado, o Santo Padre Francisco convidou o ... 1 day 12 min
No próximo domingo, 5 de junho, o Santo Padre Francisco dará início a sua nona viagem internacional, que inclui Equador, Bolívia e Paraguai. No total, serão 22 discursos em uma semana. E, pela primeira vez em uma viagem de seu pontificado, o Papa argentino vai falar na sua língua materna. Para acompanhar os últi... 1 day 1 hour
Infelizmente, há gente famosa dizendo por aí, no Twitter e noutras redes sociais, que a união civil dos gays não é um assunto que diz respeito à Igreja, mas apenas ao Estado. Será? Com certeza, quem assim se expressa não conhece um documento da Congregação para a Doutrina da Fé, chamado “Considerações sobre os p... 1 day 1 hour
Nos meses de verão na Europa, o único evento público do pontífice que permanecerá será o Angelus de domingo.Todas as Audiências de quarta-feira com o Santo Padre estão suspensas no mês de julho. Em agosto serão retomadas em agosto na Sala Paulo VI, no Vaticano. Suspensas também as missas matutinas do Papa com grupo... 1 day 1 hour
(Vatican Radio) The General Audiences held on Wednesdays will be suspended for the whole month of July. They will resume in August in the Paul VI Hall. There will, however, be an Audience on the afternoon of July 3rd with the Movement of Renewal in the Spirit, in St. Peter's Square. The Pope will continue to recite the Angelus on Sunday's. The morning mass at Santa Marta is also suspended during July and August. It will resume in early September. (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 2 hours
Vatican City, 30 June 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father's universal prayer intention for July is: “That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity”. His intention for evangelisation is: “That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society”.... 1 day 2 hours
Vatican City, 30 June 2015 (VIS) – Today the programme was published for Pope Francis' apostolic trip to Cuba and the U.S.A. and his visit to the United Nations on the occasion of his participation in the Eighth World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, from 19 to 28 September. The Pope will depart from Rome's Fiumicino airport at 10 a.m. on Saturday 19 September and is expected to arrive at 4.05 p.m. in Havana, Cuba, where the welcome ceremony will take place. On Sunday 20 September he will celebrate Holy Mass in Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana and will pay a courtesy visit to the president of the Council of State and of the Council of Ministers of the Republic in the Palace of the Revolution. Later he will celebrate Vespers in the Cathedral with priests, men and women religious, and seminarians, and will subsequently greet the young in the Fr. Felix Varela Cultural Centre. On Monday 21 September, in the morning, he will transfer to Holguin where he will celebrate Holy Mass in Plaza de la Revolucion and will bless the city from the Loma de la Cruz. He will then depart by air for Santiago, where he will meet with the bishops in St. Basil's Major Seminary. The day will conclude with the prayer to Our Lady of Charity with the bishops and the papal entourage in the minor Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre, Santiago. Tuesday 22 September will begin with the celebration of Holy Mass in the minor Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre, Santiago. The Pope will then meet families in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Asuncion in Santiago and, after blessing the city, will depart by air for Washington D.C., U.S.A., where he will be received at the Andrews Air Force Base. On Wednesday 23 September, there will be a welcome ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, where the Pope will pronounce a discourse and pay a courtesy visit to the president of the United States. At 11 a.m., the Pope will meet with the bishops of the United States in St. Matthew's Cathedral. In the afternoon he will celebrate Mass for the canonisation of Blessed Fr. Junipero Serra. On Thursday 24 September Pope Francis will visit and address the United States Congress. He will subsequently visit the charity centre of the St. Patrick's parish where he will meet a group of homeless people. In the afternoon he will transfer by air to New York, where at 6.45 p.m. he will celebrate Vespers with priests and men and women religious in St. Patrick's Cathedral. Friday 25 September will begin with an address by the Holy Father at the seat of the United Nations in New York and, at 11.30 a.m., he will participate in an interreligious meeting at the Ground Zero Memorial site. He will then visit the “Our Lady, Queen of Angels” school and meet with families of immigrants in Harlem. The day will conclude with Holy Mass in Madison Square Garden. On Saturday 26 September, the Pope will travel by air to Philadelphia, where at 10.30 a.m. he will celebrate Holy Mass with the bishops, clergy and men and women religious in the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. In the afternoon he will participate in a meeting for religious freedom with the Hispanic community and other immigrants in the Independence Mall, Philadelphia. Sunday 27 September will begin with a meeting with the bishops invited to the World Meeting of Families in the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, after which the Pope will visit the detainees in the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, Philadelphia. He will go on to celebrate the concluding Holy Mass of the Eighth World Meeting of Families at the B. Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. In the late afternoon, before the farewell ceremony, he will greet the organising committee, the volunteers and benefactors at the international airport of Philadelphia, from where he will depart on his return flight to Rome. The aircraft carrying the Holy Father is scheduled to land on Monday 28 September at 10 a.m.... 1 day 2 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday morning visited Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at his residence, the former Convent Mater Ecclesiae, in the Vatican, to greet him and wish him a pleasant stay in Castel Gandolfo in the Roman hills. The meeting lasted about half and hour. The director of the Vatican Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi said t he Pope Emeritus transferred to the summer retreat earlier today and will remain there for the next two weeks. He is scheduled to return  on July 14.  (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 3 hours
(Vatican Radio) This week members of the International Council of Christians and Jews have been meeting to discuss “The 50th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate: The Past, Present, and Future of the Christian-Jewish Relationship”, and it was on this theme that Pope Francis addressed the participants on Tuesday in the Clementine Hall in the Vatican. He told them that Nostra Aetate represented a definitive “yes” to the Jewish roots of Christianity and an irrevocable “no” to anti-Semitism adding, that both faith traditions were no longer strangers, but friends and brothers. Listen to Lydia O'Kane's report The Holy Father said that in celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of this document,  “we are able to see the rich fruits which it has brought about and to gratefully appraise Jewish-Catholic dialogue.  He then added, “ in this way, we can express our thanks to God for all the good which has been realized in terms of friendship and mutual understanding these past fifty years.” The Pope underlined that despite different perspectives, both Christians and Jews confess one God, Creator of the Universe and Lord of history.  And he, Pope Francis continued, “in his infinite goodness and wisdom, always blesses our commitment to dialogue.” Elaborating further, the Holy Father explained that both faith traditions, “find their foundation in the One God, the God of the Covenant, who reveals himself through his Word.”  “In seeking a right attitude towards God”, he Pope said, “Christians turn to Christ as the fount of new life, and Jews to the teaching of the Torah.  This pattern of theological reflection on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity arises precisely from Nostra Aetate and upon this solid basis, he noted, can be developed yet further.   In conclusion, Pope Francis stressed the importance the Holy See places on relations with the Jewish community and praised the International Council of Christians and Jews’ annual meetings, which he said, offer a notable contribution to Jewish-Christian dialogue.   (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 3 hours
Introduzida pelo novo calendário romano universal a Igreja celebra neste dia os Primeiros Mártires da Igreja de Roma. Eles foram vítimas da violenta, cruel e desmedida perseguição do Imperador Nero. Nero assumiu o poder de Roma no ano 54 d.C e foi o primeiro imperador a empreender severa perseguição aos cristãos. N... 1 day 3 hours
(Vatican Radio)  The United Nations hosted a high-level meeting on climate change on Friday in New York, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the event by saying Governments must accelerate their efforts to reach a universal climate agreement in France next December. The President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Peter Turkson, conveyed the greetings and encouragement of Pope Francis, and drew attention to the new Papal encyclical on ecology, Laudato si’. Listen to the full address by Cardinal Turkson:  Cardinal Turkson said the problem facing  leaders and representatives of the world’s nations is the “urgent need to develop policies which will drastically reduce emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases.” The full text of Cardinal Turkson’s address is below Statement by His Eminence Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace   High Level Event on Climate Change New York, 29 June 2015   Your Excellencies President of the United Nations General Assembly and Secretary-General of the United Nations, distinguished Moderators and Speakers, Ladies and Gentlemen: It is my great honour to convey Pope Francis’ greeting of affection and encouragement to this extraordinary gathering and to the nations and people whom you represent. May today’s “forthright and honest debate” (Laudato si’ 16) bear fruit in the important decisions which await the world community. The 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro proclaimed that “human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development”[1] (167). Over two decades later, Pope Francis’s Encyclical Letter Laudato si’ insists that the plight of “the poor and the fragility of the planet” are intimately related, and so encourages the world’s governments to embrace integral ecology as the necessary approach to such development, inclusive of all and protective of the earth. Through its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations has availed itself of the best scientific research available. We need to allow such scientific conclusions to “touch us deeply” (15) so that we see and hear how the poor suffer and how the earth is being mistreated. Allow me to state the argument as the Holy Father presents it in Laudato si’: “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.  Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which is even now taking place throughout our world.  Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded” (25). “The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all…” (23) But “If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us” (24). Prudence and precaution must prevail (186) and humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption (23). In Laudato si’, the Holy Father gives many examples, at different levels, of what can be done to “to reverse the trend of global warming” (168, 175) and “to reduce some of the negative impacts of climate change” (26). Facing us all – as leaders and representatives of the world’s nations, as adults today and in the name of our children and their children – is the “urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced” (26). “The use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay” with intelligent and widespread access to and use of renewable sources of energy, facilitating this energy transition (165). Overcoming poverty and reducing environmental degradation will require the human community seriously to review the dominant model of development, production, commerce and consumption. Yet the single biggest challenge is not scientific or even technological, but rather within our minds and hearts. “The same mindset which stands in the way of making radical decisions to reverse the trend of global warming also stands in the way of achieving the goal of eliminating poverty.  A more responsible overall approach is needed to deal with both problems: the reduction of pollution and the development of poorer countries and regions.” (175) Such a courageous review and reform will take place only if we heed “the call to seek other ways of understanding the economy and progress” (16). The political dimension needs to re-establish democratic control over the economy and finance, that is, over the basic choices made by human societies. This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the path we are on, the one which leads to Paris and beyond. Thank you very much. [1] Rio Declaration on the Environment and Development (14 June 1992), Principle 1. (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 7 hours
Qual a relação entre a bioética e a recente encíclica do Papa Francisco Laudato Si’? Qual é o critério ético com o qual é possível abordar e resolver os problemas ambientais? O que diz o magistério da Igreja sobre questões ambientais? Quais soluções propõe? O que é a ecologia humana e como ela difere da mentalidade... 1 day 19 hours
O papa Francisco se une à dor do mundo pelos massacres que golpearam na última sexta-feira a Tunísia (tiroteio na praia de Sousse), a França (decapitação de um homem numa fábrica perto de Lyon) e o Kuwait (bomba em uma mesquita), todos perpetrados por terroristas. Em três telegramas, assinados pelo cardeal secre... 1 day 19 hours
Com um tema que recordou o evento jubilar do ano 2000, "A universidade por um novo humanismo", o XII Simpósio Internacional de Professores se colocou a serviço do congresso eclesial italiano a ser realizada em Florença, no mês de novembro, com o tema "Em Jesus Cristo, o novo humanismo". O primeiro convite da Igr... 1 day 19 hours
Estamos no mês do Ramadã para os muçulmanos. Para entender melhor o que significa esta festa no contexto muçulmano e dos cristãos orientais, entrevistamos o Pe. Samir Khalil Samir, SJ, pró-reitor e interim do Pontifício Instituto Oriental, que explicou aos leitores de ZENIT o que publicamos abaixo.  *** ZENIT... 1 day 20 hours
(Vatican Radio) On the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Francis urged 46 new metropolitan archbishops to hear the first apostles’ call to prayer, to faith and to witness. The Pope’s words came during his homily at Mass in St Peter’s Basilica which included several significant ecumenical initiatives, as Philippa Hitchen reports: Listen:  Every year on June 29th, solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, a high level delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul travels to the Vatican to celebrate this great feast of the patron saints of the Church in Rome. Just as a Vatican delegation travels to Istanbul each November 30th to celebrate the feastday of St Andrew with the Orthodox Church of the East. Pope Francis had special greetings to the Orthodox delegation, led by Metropolitan John Zizioulas, who was also present in the Vatican just 10 days ago for the presentation of the papal encyclical on the environment, ‘Laudato Si’’. Meanwhile, providing inspirational music for the Mass on Monday were choristers of the Anglican choir of New College, Oxford, who joined forces with the regular Sistine Chapel Choir to underline the ecumenical nature of this important feast day. In his homily Pope Francis spoke of the courage of the Apostles and of the first Christian community, persecuted by the rulers of their day, just as believers continue to be the victims of “atrocious, inhuman and incomprehensible persecutions” in many parts of the world today. The Pope focused his words on three ways in which the new metropolitan archbishops are called to model their lives on those first apostles. Firstly, by being men of prayer, just as the first Christian community was a Church at prayer, supported, sustained and always "moving forward". Prayer, the Pope said, is the encounter with God, who never lets us down or leaves us alone. Secondly, Pope Francis said, the new archbishops must respond to the call to faith, believing that despite all the difficulties "the Church remains alive and fruitful". And finally he urged the archbishops to be men of witness, following the examples of so many other Christian witnesses throughout the history of the Church. “There is no witness,” he reminded them, “without a coherent lifestyle!” Whereas in past years, the popes have placed the symbolic pallium around the neck of each new metropolitan, this year Pope Francis simply blessed the bands of white wool, embroidered with black, silk crosses. Each pallium will later be presented to the archbishops by the nuncio in their own country, in a ceremony underlining the importance of the local Churches and the synodality of all bishops, under the guidance of the successor of Saint Peter. (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 1 hour
Na festa dos Santos Apóstolos Pedro e Paulo, o Papa rezou nesta segunda-feira a oração do Angelus da janela de seu escritório no Palácio Apostólico, diante de uma multidão na Praça de São Pedro. Dirigindo-se aos fiéis e peregrinos de todo o mundo, que o recebeu com um longo aplauso, o Pontífice disse: Queridos i... 2 days 2 hours
O Papa Francisco recordou nesta segunda-feira, após a oração Mariana do Angelus na Solenidade de São Pedro e Paulo, que em poucos dias realizará a sua segunda viagem à América Latina, um continente "tão caro" para ele. Francisco expressou a sua alegria de poder estar na casa dos equatorianos, bolivianos e paraguaio... 2 days 3 hours
Quarenta e seis arcebispos foram nomeados pelo Papa Francisco no ano passado. Todos receberam o pálio nesta segunda-feira durante a Missa concelebrada com o Santo Padre, na Basílica Vaticana, por ocasião da Solenidade dos Santos Apóstolos Pedro e Paulo. O pálio que simboliza a união do metropolitano com o Pontíf... 2 days 3 hours
“A fé em Jesus Cristo tornou-os irmãos e o martírio os fez se tornarem uma só coisa. São Pedro e São Paulo, tão diferentes entre eles no plano humano, foram escolhidos pessoalmente pelo Senhor Jesus e responderam ao chamado oferecendo suas vidas.” Ressaltou o Papa Francisco na solenidade de São Pedro e São Paulo, p... 2 days 3 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday asked prayers for his upcoming voyage to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay, scheduled for the coming 5 th to the 13 th of July. In remarks to the gathered faithful in St. Peter’s Square following the Angelus prayer after Mass to mark the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, patrons of the city of Rome, the Holy Father said, “I ask you all to accompany me with prayer, that the Lord will bless my journey on the continent of Latin America so dear to me, as you can imagine.” Click below to hear our report Pope Francis went on to say, “I express to the dear peoples of Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay my joy at being in their homelands, and I ask you, in a particular way, to pray for me and for this trip, that the Virgin Mary might give us the gift of accompanying all of us with her maternal protection.”   (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 3 hours
A Missa por ocasião da Solenidade dos Santos Apóstolos Pedro e Paulo foi celebrada pelo Papa Francisco na manhã desta segunda-feira, 29 de junho, na Basílica Vaticana. 46 Arcebispos metropolitanos nomeados durante o ano receberam o pálio das mãos do Pontífice. Apresentamos a seguir o texto completo da homilia pronu... 2 days 4 hours
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered the homily at Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica on Monday, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Patrons of Rome. The Mass also saw the ceremonial gift of the Pallium - the peculiar sign of the office of a Metropolitan Archbishop. Below, please find the full text of the Holy Father's prepared remarks, in English. *********************************************** The reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, speaks to us of the first Christian community besieged by persecution. A community harshly persecuted by Herod who “laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the Church… proceeded to arrest Peter also… and when he had seized him he put him in prison” (12:1-4).             However, I do not wish to dwell on these atrocious, inhuman and incomprehensible persecutions, sadly still present in many parts of the world today, often under the silent gaze of all.  I would like instead to pay homage today to the courage of the Apostles and that of the first Christian community.  This courage carried forward the work of evangelisation, free of fear of death and martyrdom, within the social context of a pagan empire; their Christian life is for us, the Christians of today, a powerful call to prayer, to faith and to witness .             A call to prayer : the first community was a Church at prayer: “Peter was kept in prison; but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the Church” ( Acts 12:5). And if we think of Rome, the catacombs were not places to escape to from persecution but rather, they were places of prayer, for sanctifying the Lord’s day and for raising up, from the heart of the earth, adoration to God who never forgets his sons and daughters.             The community of Peter and Paul teaches us that the Church at prayer is a Church on her feet, strong, moving forward! Indeed, a Christian who prays is a Christian who is protected, guarded and sustained, and above all, who is never alone.             The first reading continues: “Sentries before the door were guarding the prison; and behold, an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter on the side… And the chains fell off his hands” (12:6-7).             Let us think about how many times the Lord has heard our prayer and sent us an angel ?  An angel who unexpectedly comes to pull us out of a difficult situation?  Who comes to snatch us from the hands of death and from the evil one; who points out the wrong path; who rekindles in us the flame of hope; who gives us tender comfort; who consoles our broken hearts; who awakens us from our slumber to the world; or who simply tells us, “You are not alone”.             How many angels he places on our path, and yet when we are overwhelmed by fear, unbelief or even euphoria, we leave them outside the door, just as happened to Peter when he knocked on the door of the house and the “maid named Rhoda came to answer.  Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the door” (12:13-14).              No Christian community can go forward without being supported by persistent prayer! Prayer is the encounter with God, with God who never lets us down; with God who is faithful to his word; with God who does not abandon his children . Jesus asked himself: “And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night?” ( Lk 18:7).  In prayer, believers express their faith and their trust, and God reveals his closeness, also by giving us the angels, his messengers.             A call to faith : in the second reading Saint Paul writes to Timothy: “But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength to proclaim the word fully… So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.  The Lord will rescue me from every evil and save me for his heavenly Kingdom” ( 2 Tim 4:17-18).  God does not take his children out of the world or away from evil but he does grant them strength to prevail.  Only the one who believes can truly say: “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want” ( Ps 23:1).             How many forces in the course of history have tried, and still do, to destroy the Church, from without as well as within, but they themselves are destroyed and the Church remains alive and fruitful! She remains inexplicably solid, so that, as Saint Paul says, she may acclaim: “To him be glory for ever and ever” ( 2 Tim 4:18).              Everything passes, only God remains.  Indeed, kingdoms, peoples, cultures, nations, ideologies, powers have passed, but the Church, founded on Christ, notwithstanding the many storms and our many sins, remains ever faithful to the deposit of faith shown in service; for the Church does not belong to Popes, bishops, priests, nor the lay faithful; the Church in every moment belongs solely to Christ.  Only the one who lives in Christ promotes and defends the Church by holiness of life, after the example of Peter and Paul.              In the name of Christ, believers have raised the dead; they have healed the sick; they have loved their persecutors; they have shown how there is no power capable of defeating the one who has the power of faith!             A call to witness : Peter and Paul, like all the Apostles of Christ who in their earthly life sowed the seeds of the Church by their blood, drank the Lord’s cup, and became friends of God.             Paul writes in a moving way to Timothy: “My son, I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  From now on there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” ( 2 Tim 4: 6-8).             A Church or a Christian who does not give witness is sterile; like a dead person who thinks they are alive; like a dried up tree that produces no fruit; an empty well that offers no water!  The Church has overcome evil thanks to the courageous, concrete and humble witness of her children.  She has conquered evil thanks to proclaiming with conviction: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”  (cf. Mt 16:13-18).             Dear Archbishops who today receive the Pallium, it is a sign which represents the sheep that the shepherd carries on his shoulders as Christ the Good Shepherd does, and it is therefore a symbol of your pastoral mission.  The Pallium is “a liturgical sign of communion that unites the See of Peter and his Successor to the Metropolitans, and through them to the other Bishops of the world” (Benedict XVI, Angelus of 29 June 2005).             Today, by these Palliums, I wish to entrust you with this call to prayer, to faith and to witness.             The Church wants you to be men of prayer, masters of prayer; that you may teach the people entrusted to your care that liberation from all forms of imprisonment is uniquely God’s work and the fruit of prayer; that God sends his angel at the opportune time in order to save us from the many forms of slavery and countless chains of worldliness.  For those most in need, may you also be angels and messengers of charity!             The Church desires you to be men of faith, masters of faith, who can teach the faithful to not be frightened of the many Herods who inflict on them persecution with every kind of cross.  No Herod is able to banish the light of hope, of faith, or of charity in the one who believes in Christ!             The Church wants you to be men of witness. Saint Francis used to tell his brothers: “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words!” (cf. Franciscan sources , 43).  There is no witness without a coherent lifestyle!  Today there is no great need for masters, but for courageous witnesses, who are convinced and convincing; witnesses who are not ashamed of the Name of Christ and of His Cross; not before the roaring lions, nor before the powers of this world.  And this follows the example of Peter and Paul and so many other witnesses along the course of the Church’s history, witnesses who, yet belonging to different Christian confessions, have contributed to demonstrating and bringing growth to the one Body of Christ. I am pleased to emphasize this, and am always pleased to do so, in the presence of the Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, sent by my beloved brother Bartholomew I.                 This is not so straightforward: because the most effective and authentic witness is one that does not contradict, by behaviour and lifestyle, what is preached with the word and taught to others!             Teach prayer by praying, announce the faith by believing; offer witness by living! (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 6 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: CWN provides reliable world news and commentary from a Catholic perspective, availble exclusively at
The Episcopal Church is poised to hold a final vote on whether to permit same-sex marriages in its dioceses. The House of Bishops-- one of the two houses of the church's bicameral ... 5 hours 5 min
The Pakistani government has decided not to renew the visas of three Filipino missionary sisters who help administer schools in Islamabad, the nation's capital. A legal appeal filed by ... 5 hours 22 min
Addressing the UN Human Rights Council, the Holy See's leading diplomat at UN offices in Geneva called for coordinated international action to combat terrorism and its ... 5 hours 43 min
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Alliance of Catholic Development Organizations (CIDSE) are sponsoring a two-day conference entitled "People and Planet ... 5 hours 53 min
The Vatican has released an English translation of the instrumentum laboris, or working document, of the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will take place in ... 6 hours 26 min
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee on the Church in Africa has awarded $1,205,236 in grants to 47 projects. The grants are funded by a special collection ... 6 hours 44 min
The US Supreme Court has declined an appeal from death-row inmates in Oklahoma, who argued that the state's use of a controversial drug in executions was a form of "cruel and unusual ... 20 hours 17 min
The Vatican has released the full schedule for the September visit by Pope Francis to Cuba and the US. The highlights of the papal trip will be an address to the UN on September 25 and ... 1 day 7 min
The US Supreme Court has temporarily blocked enforcement of a new state law in Texas that would have required abortion clinics to adhere to standards similar to those in place for other ... 1 day 22 min
The Vatican has announced the prayer intentions of Pope Francis for July 2015. The Pope's universal intention is: "That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high ... 1 day 30 min
A spokesman for Kenya's president said that Pope Francis will visit the African nation in November. "The Vatican has formally contacted the government about a visit to Kenya in ... 1 day 4 hours
Following the recent US Supreme Court decision, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne of Lima offered strong criticism of same-sex marriage, calling it "imperialism, colonialism," according ... 1 day 4 hours
Pope Francis received a delegation of the International Council of Christians and Jews in audience on June 30 and said that the Second Vatican Council's document Nostra Aetate "represents ... 1 day 5 hours
Metropolitan Hilarion, the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, met on June 26 with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's Secretary of ... 1 day 5 hours
The Holy See Press Office has announced that Pope Francis will not hold his Wednesday general audiences during the month of July. The audiences will be resumed in August in the Paul VI ... 1 day 6 hours
Pope Francis visited with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at the latter's residence for a half hour on June 30, according to the Holy See Press Office. Pope Francis, according to the press ... 1 day 6 hours
Stating that "the Holy Father once again condemns the violence which generates so much suffering," Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's Secretary of State, sent out telegrams of ... 1 day 6 hours
The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace underlined the link between environmental degradation and world poverty, as expressed in the papal encyclical Laudato Si', in ... 1 day 19 hours
Al Azhar University, the Egyptian institution that is regarded as the leading intellectual authority of Sunni Islam, has condemned the "heinous" violence of the Islamic State, the AsiaNews ... 1 day 20 hours
An Associated Press report has uncovered financial irregularities in a diocese in Paraguay whose bishop was ousted by the Vatican last year. Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano was removed ... 1 day 20 hours
Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ephrem II pleaded for Western nations to stop providing weapons for Syrian militant groups, in an interview with Vatican Insider. "We are not asking the west ... 1 day 20 hours
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has provided a useful collection of links to statements by dozens of American bishops responding to the Obergefell ... 1 day 20 hours
In his Angelus address delivered in St. Peter's Square on June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Francis recalled that the two saints came from distant lands to proclaim the ... 2 days 4 hours
Pope Francis entrusted the pallium to 46 metropolitan archbishops appointed during the past year and exhorted them to be follow the example of the apostles and be men of prayer, faith, and ... 2 days 4 hours
In his June 28 Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel of the day (Mark 5:21-43), which recounted the raising of a synagogue official's child and the healing of a woman with ... 2 days 4 hours
Pope Francis has established a new Vatican office, the Secretariat for Communications, to supervise all of the communications and public-relations efforts of the Holy See. The new ... 2 days 5 hours
In a message to Pope Francis issued in commemoration of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople welcomed Pope Francis's encyclical on the ... 2 days 5 hours
Pope Francis told a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople that the restoration of "full, visible communion" between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches ... 2 days 5 hours
In a Latin-language letter dated April 9 and released on June 27, Pope Francis formally appointed Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, the retired archbishop of Prague, as his special envoy for the ... 2 days 6 hours
During an ordinary consistory of the College of Cardinals, as Pope Francis and the cardinals celebrated Terce (Midmorning Prayer) in the Apostolic Palace, the Pontiff formally approved a ... 2 days 6 hours
As Pope Francis's apostolic journey to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay draws near, the Pontiff has spoken to the peoples of those nations in a video message. "My wish is to be with you, ... 2 days 6 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: Live Catholic Headlines
Trani, Italy, Jul 1, 2015 / 01:02 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The life of Father Salvatore Mellone, who died on Monday, was moving to thousands of people. He was to have at least two more years of seminary when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, but by special permission and the blessing of Pope Francis, he was ordained nevertheless. 10 hours 37 min
Vatican City, Jun 30, 2015 / 12:13 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Before heading out for his two-week stay at the papal residence in Castel Gandolfo this summer, retired pontiff Benedict XVI received a 30 minute visit from Pope Francis, who wished him a pleasant stay. 23 hours 26 min
Vatican City, Jun 30, 2015 / 10:00 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis' itinerary while in Cuba and the United States confirms several highly anticipated events including a special U.N. Summit and the canonization of Bl. Junipero Serra. He is also set to meet with groups he frequently prioritizes: homeless, prisoners and migrants. 1 day 1 hour
Quito, Ecuador, Jun 30, 2015 / 07:25 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Within the walls of the convent in Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, Ecuador, the Carmelite nuns are busy making liturgical cloths and the vestments for Pope Francis' July 6-7 visit to the country.

1 day 4 hours
Washington D.C., Jun 30, 2015 / 04:20 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Looking forward to Pope Francis' September visit to the U.S., the nation's bishops were exuberant on Tuesday, as the itinerary for the apostolic voyage was released. 1 day 7 hours
Washington D.C., Jun 30, 2015 / 03:03 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- On Monday afternoon the Supreme Court of the United States temporarily halted Texas' regulations on abortion clinics, which were upheld by an appellate court earlier in the month. 1 day 8 hours
Washington D.C., Jun 30, 2015 / 01:30 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- The U.S. Supreme Court has issued an order protecting a group of Pennsylvania religious institutions from being required by the federal contraception mandate to violate their faith. 1 day 10 hours
Vatican City, Jun 30, 2015 / 01:08 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Internet content and and video production will assume a greater role in Vatican communications in the years to come, suggests the establishment and – particularly – the leadership of the newly established Secretariat for Communications. 1 day 10 hours
Vatican City, Jun 29, 2015 / 12:44 pm (EWTN News).- During his Angelus address for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Francis asked for prayers ahead of next week's papal visit to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. 1 day 22 hours
Washington D.C., Jun 29, 2015 / 09:32 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the continued use of a drug that has been accused of causing excruciating pain in several controversial state executions.

2 days 2 hours
Vatican City, Jun 29, 2015 / 01:18 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- During his Mass for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul on Monday, Pope Francis called on the Church's new archbishops to be courageous witnesses who are not ashamed of Christ, and who are convinced by what they themselves teach. 2 days 10 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: Tristate Catholic news and features, daily

(Email subscribers: Click on the post headline to watch the video at our website.)

Several college seminarians from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati studying at the Pontifical College Josephinum (Columbus) and Bishop Simon Bruté College (Indianapolis) are interviewed in the newest vocation video produced by Cincinnati-based US Digital Partners.

Made to show at Archbishop Dennis Schnurr’s “Andrew Dinners” for high school men discerning a vocation for the priesthood, the video will take the place of one that was still effective, but a little past its shelf life, according to Associate Vocation Director Wayne Topp. “One of the men in that video is entering his final year of formation and will be ordained a priest at the end of this year!” he says

Like the previous video, this one showcases the many facets of life in a college seminary, “most especially the opportunity for silent discernment and prayer, but also the opportunity for relaxation and fun with brother seminarians. We wanted everyone who watches this video to understand that by entering seminary, you don’t miss out on college life, but you also get so much more than the regular college experience.

“You can hear in the stories being told that most of the men who enter college seminary do so without a certainty that they will be ordained a priest or that they are definitely called to the priesthood,” Topp says. “It is a calling that all men struggle with throughout their time in formation and that is a very positive thing. That means they have entered the seminary for the right reason, to discern God’s will for their lives.”

Paul Padgett, who oversaw the video for US Digital Partners, says the goal of filming was to present “an honest look at college seminary life — the holiness, the prayer and the sacrifice, but also the fun and camaraderie of daily life. We wanted to show what kind of guy goes to college seminary, what a daily routine looks like, and what is the larger personality of the experience.”

Although the crew thought they knew what to expect, Padgett says the reality of college seminary life still held some surprises. “Throughout our time, I was reminded again and again, that these guys are just guys,” he says. “They like to joke and play sports and get loud. It’s easy to have a preconception that these men will be quiet or meek, but I was blown away by the raucous noise and laughter and happiness.
“These are guys being guys, and something about the setting actually seems to be liberating rather than constricting. I was also blown away by their thoughtfulness in making the decision to enter, their bravery, their candor about their experiences.”

Padget adds that his most interesting discovery was “the number of guys who said that their decision came to them during adoration. It seemed that every guy we interviewed had a similar experience in adoration.”

Think you might be discerning a call to the priesthood or religious life? Click here for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Vocations office; here for the office in the Diocese of Covington, and here for the office in Indianapolis.

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11 hours 18 min
Staff and visitors could have their picture taken with a cutout of Pope Francis at the Academy of Natural Sciences on a recent "Philly Francis Friday," in preparation for the Pope's visit to Philadelphia this fall. Here's the schedule for his US visit this fall, where you can see him in person (but probably not take a selfie with him).

Staff and visitors could have their picture taken with a cutout of Pope Francis at the Academy of Natural Sciences on a recent “Philly Francis Friday,” in preparation for the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia this fall. Here’s the schedule for his US visit this fall, where you can see the Holy Father in person (but probably not take a selfie with him).

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has announced Pope Francis’s schedule for his visit to the United States this fall. Beside addressing Congress and the United Nations, canonizing Fr. Junipero Serra at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Mass for attendees at the World Meeting of Families, it includes numerous other events in Washington and Philadelphia, including a private meeting with President Obama, Mass at Madison Square Garden, and a visit to an inner-city school and a prison.

The complete schedule:

  • 4:00 p.m.    Arrival from Cuba at Joint Base Andrews
  • 9:15  a.m.  Meeting with President Obama at the White House
  • 11:30 a.m. Midday Prayer with the bishops of the United States, St. Matthew’s Cathedral
  • 4:15  p.m.  Mass of Canonization of Junipero Serra, Basilicia of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
  • 9:20  a.m.  Address to Joint Session of the United States Congress
  • 11:15 a.m. Visit to St. Patrick in the City and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington
  • 4:00 p.m.   Depart from Joint Base Andrews
  • 5:00 p.m.   Arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • 6:45 p.m.   Evening Prayer (Vespers) at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  • 8:30  a.m. Visit to the United Nations and Address to the United Nations General Assembly
  • 11:30 a.m. Multi-religious service at 9/11 Memorial and Museum, World Trade Center
  • 4:00  p.m.  Visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School, East Harlem
  • 6:00  p.m.  Mass at Madison Square Garden
  • 8:40  a.m.  Departure from John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • 9:30  a.m.  Arrival at Atlantic Aviation, Philadelphia
  • 10:30 a.m. Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia
  • 4:45  p.m.  Visit to Independence Mall
  • 7:30  p.m.  Visit to the Festival of Families Benjamin Franklin Parkway
  • 9:15   a.m.  Meeting with bishops at at St. Martin’s Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
  • 11:00  a.m. Visit to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility
  • 4:00  p.m.   Mass for the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families, Benjamin Franklin Parkway
  • 7:00   p.m.  Visit with organizers, volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families, Atlantic Aviation
  • 8:00   p.m.  Departure for Rome

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11 hours 21 min
A marriage meme from Catholics for the Common Good's Facebook page, which posts them every few days for supporters to share on social media. The organization's founder, William May, will speak twice in Cincinnati this month.

A marriage meme from Catholics for the Common Good’s Facebook page, which posts them every few days for supporters to share on social media. The organization’s founder, William May, will speak twice in Cincinnati this month.

William May, founder and president of the Catholics for the Common Good Institute and founder of the Marriage Reality Movement (#TakeBackMarriage) will present a free public lecture July 19th at The Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West (Mt. Washington/Cincinnati).

Author of Getting the Marriage Conversation Right: A Guide for Effective Dialogue, he helped lead California’s Proposition 8 initiative to define marriage. His talk will be titled “Taking Back Marriage for Our Children and Families.”

William B. May

William B. May

May and the Catholics for the Common Good Institute led “Catholics for Protect Marriage,” the lay Catholic response to the Proposition 8. Although the ballot measure passed, making the universal definition of marriage the legal one for California, a judge overturned it and the Supreme Court of the United States ultimately decided not to hear the case, saying that residents of California did not have standing to sue to have their laws enforced.
A sought-after speaker and frequent guest on both Catholic and secular media, including  Kresta in the Afternoon, Good Morning America, and The News Hour, May will also address clergy and people involved in marriage ministry at a morning workshop July 20th at Our Lady of Sorrows Church (Monroe, OH). (Click here to download the flier).

The public lecture is sponsored by The Athenaeum, The St. James Project, and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Family and Respect Life Office (FARLO).  

“Mr. May will offer a fresh perspective about approaching issues related to marriage and family and will discuss the need for a new positive Marriage Reality Movement that starts by reintroducing marriage,” say the sponsors. “This will be an important discussion for those concerned how to protect their children from adopting distorted concepts of love and marriage that affect the choices they make in their own lives, and for those concerned about the societal consequences of the breakdown of marriage.”
The talk will begin at 7 pm in The Athenaeum’s Bartlett Pastoral Center.

Images courtesy Catholics for the Common Good; find more on Facebook at that name or by searching hashtag takebackmarriage.

For more Catholic events, see our Events page.

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11 hours 24 min
Ralph Drees (honorary ACUE chair) and Paul Smith (general chair), with students from Holy Cross Elementary School (Latonia, KY).

Ralph Drees (honorary ACUE chair) and Paul Smith (general chair), with students from Holy Cross Elementary School (Latonia, KY).

The 2015 ACUE (Alliance for Catholic Urban Education) campaign for Northern Kentucky schools ended yesterday on track to break records as donations continued to come in just days before the deadline.

Last week Paul Smith, general chair of the campaign, said volunteers and generous donors had put the goal of $700,000 by the end of June well within reach.

It wa the seventh year for the annual campaign, which has raised hundreds of thousands to help fund tuition payments for students at six Catholic elementary schools in Bellevue, Covington, Latonia, Newport and Taylor Mill.

The schools serve almost 700 students, 40% of whom are not Catholic. More than $2 million in tuition assistance is needed to help their families pay for school, according to the Diocese. Without assistance from ACUE, that money must come from parish subsidies and from the Diocese.

“With each year the need for tuition assistance renews,” said Beth Ruehlmann, director of development for the diocesan Department of Catholic Schools. “This is why our annual appeal is so important. With strong leadership, our appeals have grown significantly in recent years. The growing momentum for our appeal has made a significant difference in our ability to provide a Catholic education to disadvantaged students.”

This year, she said last week, more than 750 donors had given to the appeal, in both large and small amounts. “While we are on track to have another record-breaking year totaling around $700,000, we will only be able to fund a portion of the more than $2 million needed for tuition assistance, so every dollar raised makes a difference.”

Ralph Drees was this year’s honorary chair — the appeal’s first — after having made a significant pledge to the 2014 appeal The diocese said his help significantly impacted this year’s campaign, which kicked off in October with a $25,000 challenge grant from Corporex and The Butler Foundation.

The challenge offered a dollar-for-dollar match and incentive to early respondents new to the appeal, or those who have increased their contribution from previous years. It was the fourth consecutive appeal featuring the $25,000 challenge grant, which has helped ACUE grow each year.

To donate, contact the Development Office of the Department of Catholic Education, Diocese of Covington, at (859) 392-1500 or e-mail

Photo courtesy the Diocese of Covington.

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11 hours 33 min

flag canada

The following piece is an excerpt from an essay by Dawn Stefanowicz that ran as “A Warning From Canada: Same-Sex Marriage Erodes Fundamental Rights” on June 26 in the web magazine Aleteia. Later that day, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Constitution requires all states to recognize that people of the same sex can marry.

I am one of six adult children of gay parents who recently filed amicus briefs with the US Supreme Court, asking the Court to respect the authority of citizens to keep the original definition of marriage: a union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, so that children may know and may be raised by their biological parents. I also live in Canada, where same-sex marriage was federally mandated in 2005.

I am the daughter of a gay father who died of AIDS. I described my experiences in my book: Out From Under: The Impact of Homosexual Parenting. Over fifty adult children who were raised by LGBT parents have communicated with me and share my concerns about same-sex marriage and parenting. Many of us struggle with our own sexuality and sense of gender because of the influences in our household environments growing up.

We have great compassion for people who struggle with their sexuality and gender identity—not animosity. And we love our parents. Yet, when we go public with our stories, we often face ostracism, silencing, and threats.

I want to warn America to expect severe erosion of First Amendment freedoms if the US Supreme Court mandates same-sex marriage. The consequences have played out in Canada for ten years now, and they are truly Orwellian in nature and scope.

Canada’s Lessons

In Canada, freedoms of speech, press, religion, and association have suffered greatly due to government pressure. The debate over same-sex marriage that is taking place in the United States could not legally exist in Canada today. Because of legal restrictions on speech, if you say or write anything considered “homophobic” (including, by definition, anything questioning same-sex marriage), you could face discipline, termination of employment, or prosecution by the government…

…read the rest here.

For more on religious freedom issues:

Click here for our Religious Liberty resources page. Click here to see all our previous stories and guest posts on religious liberty issues.

Click here for the USCCB’s resource page on the Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty.

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1 day 10 hours
A baby at 17 weeks gestation. Martin Haskell's Kettering (OH) business will abort babies several weeks later than the 20 week limit some Ohio legislators are trying to establish. The late-term abortionist is deciding whether or not to seek a variance to keep the business open.

A baby at 17 weeks gestation. Martin Haskell’s Kettering (OH) business will abort babies several weeks later than the 20 week limit some Ohio legislators are trying to establish. The late-term abortionist is deciding whether or not to re-apply for a variance to keep the business open.

After operating for a year without a license, Martin Haskell has been denied a variance for his Kettering (OH) abortion business and must decide whether to re-apply.

Haskell owns three abortion businesses in Indiana and Ohio; the Kettering facility offers late-term abortions. Last year, after being a denied a variance for his business in Sharonville, he stopped offering abortions at that location and instead refers its clients to Kettering.

The Ohio Department of Health issued the denial early this month, but the letter was not made public until Friday when it was released by Ohio Right to Life. Haskell had requested a variance from the state of Ohio’s requirement for a Written Transfer Agreement (WTA) with a hospital — something most abortion businesses have a difficult time securing — instead offering substitute agreements for local doctors to provide backup medical care for his “Women’s Med Center” (WMC).

Before 2013, the business had such agreements with three doctors. When those agreements ended, Haskell asked for a variance but with only two doctors.

“I have concluded that the information submitted… does not meet the standard of the same protection that a WTA would provide, as it does not meet the department’s expectation for 24/7 back-up coverage and uninterrupted continuity of care,” ODH Director of Health Richard Hodges wrote.

In particular, he continued, “two back-up positions cannot meet” those expectations. “All it would take is for one doctor to be out of town, and another to be busy, for WMC’s back-up options to be unavailable when needed.”

Although the request said that Wright State Physicians Women’s Health Center would provide backup care, Hodge wrote, Haskell did not provide names or contact information for any particular doctors, as required. In addition, Hodges said, the variance request included care by Premier Health Miami Valley Hospital, but Hodges said that a letter from its president, “indicates that the hospital has not agreed to serve in any capacity as a supporting agency or affiliate of Women’s Med Center.”

Hodge gave Haskell 30 days from the date of the letter to submit another variance request or risk losing its license as an ambulatory surgical center.

Haskell became famous for popularizing “partial birth” abortion, in which the baby is delivered halfway and killed while his or her head is still in the birth canal.That abortion technique is now illegal, but other late-term techniques are still practiced.

Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, Greater Cincinnati’s only remaining abortion business, operates under a variance. Toledo’s last business has a WTA with a hospital 50 miles away, but new language in the state budget would limit WTAs to hospitals within 30 miles of an ambulatory surgical center.

However, ODH recently granted a license to an abortion business in Cuyahoga Falls, despite a history of problems. According to a release from Right to Life of Northeast Ohio, that business is run by David Burkons, who is the Medical Director at the Toledo abortion business where 22-year-old Lakisha Wilson died during a late term abortion last year.

“He was affiliated with the Cuyahoga Falls facility when it was shut down by the Ohio Department of Health and the US Drug Enforcement Agency for multiple health and safety and drug violations,” the release says, “holds the record for the most botched RU486 abortions in the state, and runs the Toledo Women’s Center abortion facility that has been ordered to close.” In the past he was also affiliated with a Planned Parenthood facility in Bedford recently fined $25,000 by the ODH for multiple violations.

“Martin Haskell’s reaction to this variance denial remains to be seen, but he has a history of suing to get his way,” says Paula Westwood, Executive Director of Cincinnati Right to Life. “Director Hodge’s alleged assertion that Haskell is not ensuring patient safety should have already been grounds for closing this facility.

“However, the fact that the Ohio Department of Health denied Haskell a variance, yet at the same time gave a license to operate to a substandard abortion facility in Cuyahoga Falls, with many safety violations, is unpredictable inconsistency that does not inspire confidence. Time will tell whether the Department is serious in holding Haskell, at least, accountable, or whether this is just smoke and mirrors.”

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1 day 11 hours
Glenmary Home Missioners at their General Assembly this spring.

Glenmary Home Missioners at their General Assembly this spring.

CORRECTION: The post sent out in the email edition conflated Glenmary with the Comboni Missionaries, who are also headquartered in the region and who have a local event next week. They are not at all the same and we apologize for conflating them!

Glenmary Home Missioners,  headquartered in Fairfield (OH) held their 16th General Assembly in Charleston, WV, this month. Glenmary helps rural mission parishes throughout the United States.

Photo courtesy Glenmary Home Missioners.

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1 day 11 hours
A screen shot of Local12's coverage of Mayor John Cranely performing a wedding ceremony on Fountain Square for five same-sex couples Friday, hours after the Supreme Court declared that the Constitution required marriage to be redefined out of existence.

A screen shot of Local12’s coverage of Mayor John Cranley performing a wedding ceremony on Fountain Square for five same-sex couples Friday. A graduate of Catholic schools and colleges and of Harvard Divinity School, Mayor Cranley presumably knows orthodox Christian teachings on the definition of marriage. 

The first Cincinnati wedding ceremonies for two men and two women took place in the Hamilton County Courthouse Friday, just hours after the Supreme Court’s decision that “marriage” can mean anything people want it to mean. About an hour later, Cincinnati’s Catholic Mayor, John Cranley, officiated at what WLWT News called a “mass wedding.”

“Anybody in the mood for a wedding?” he asked the crowd — many of whom had come to the square in couples, with a minister or other officiant — and then performed the ceremony for five couples.

It wasn’t exactly a “mass wedding,” as the reporter claimed, but then, Fountain Square wasn’t “transformed into an altar” either (another bit of journalistic embellishment). “By the power granted to me by the Constitution,” Mayor Cranley said with relish, “I now pronounce all of you married.”

"Sarah Jessica Darker" waves to fans in Saturday's Pride Parade, which featured more than a dozen drag queen performers as well as numerous other men dressed as women. Some of the peformers took the stage at the Pride Festival on the river -- both the festival and parade were advertised as "family friendly" and many children attended.

“Sarah Jessica Darker” waves to fans in Saturday’s Pride Parade, which featured more than a dozen drag queen performers as well as numerous other men dressed as women. Some of the peformers took the stage at the Pride Festival on the river — both the festival and parade were advertised as “family friendly” and many children attended.

There were tears and cheers, and (even in the television news celebratory stories) some bewildered looks from children. Rainbow flags and flowers abounded. Anyone dismayed by the Supreme Court’s declaration that reality is not constitutional stayed at home.

Mayor Cranley is a graduate of St. William Elementary School, St. Xavier High School, and John Carroll University, and holds a masters degree from Harvard Divinity School as well as a JD from Harvard Law School. When last asked by The Catholic Beat, he said he attends Bellarmine Chapel.

Like most Democrats he has been a supporter of same-sex marriage. Earlier this year he led an official send-off for Supreme Court litigant Jim Obergefell, namesake of Friday’s decision, with Ohio state representative Denise Driehaus (also Catholic) and Vice Mayor David Mann.

Both Driehaus and Mann marched in the city’s annual Pride Parade Saturday, but Mayor Cranley did not. The parade, billed as family friendly, featured groups in matching t-shirts from local and national companies including Kroger, US Bank, Procter & Gamble, and Delta; but also sexually suggestive entries including drag queen acts, a float featuring four men in silver metallic Speedos, and a float of shirtless and leather-clad “macho man” participants billing themselves as “50 Shades of Gay.”

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Ohio Rep. Denise Driehaus, also Catholic, in the Cicninnati Pride Parade Saturday.

Ohio Rep. Denise Driehaus, also Catholic, in the Cicninnati Pride Parade Saturday.

The float for the Cincinnati Men's Chorus, one of numerous sexually suggestive floats and entries in the "family friendly" parade.

The float for the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus, one of numerous sexually suggestive floats and entries in the “family friendly” parade.

"50 Shades of Gay," a float for downtown bar On Broadway, in Saturday's "family friendly" Pride Parade.

“50 Shades of Gay,” a float for downtown bar On Broadway, in Saturday’s “family friendly” Pride Parade.

2 days 11 hours
The Supreme Court declared that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution makes same-sex marriage a right. But under the "Equal Protection" clause or the "Due Process" clause? The Court didn't say -- and the difference is vital.

The Supreme Court declared that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution makes same-sex marriage a right. But under the “Equal Protection” clause or the “Due Process” clause? The Court didn’t say — and the difference is vital.

Kenneth Craycaft, Jr.

Kenneth Craycaft, Jr.

Due Process or Equal Protection? The Answer Matters

The following guest post also appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer as “Ruling Will Lead to New Discrimination.”

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges probably settles the issue of the legality of marriage between two people of the same sex, but it unsettles many other important legal and social issues. And it leaves open the probability of many more profound social changes, some of which are a direct threat to religious liberty.

From a legal perspective, the most disappointing thing about Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion is how short it is on legal reasoning. The opinion is chock full of hazy moral bromides and dubious philosophical musings at the expense of clear and concise guidance on the scope and limitations of the decision. This is unfortunate. A decision of this importance begs for legal clarity, not dorm-room ruminations. Even supporters of the decision have scratched their heads at the poor (or lack of) legal reasoning.

As a threshold matter, in a decision interpreting and applying the Fourteenth Amendment, the opinion punts on the question of whether it is applying “due process” or “equal protection” clauses. It mentions both, but decides on neither. The distinction is important. Under equal protection analysis, the government may discriminate in some circumstances, but only under a “heightened scrutiny” standard, in which a compelling governmental interest can be shown for the particular law in question. But under “due process” analysis, the right to marriage becomes fundamental to a degree that is virtually untouchable by the law. As a practical matter, this is how Obergefell will be applied by lower courts going forward.

Due process analysis necessarily invalidates legal impediments to other forms of “marriage” than just same-sex unions between two people. Indeed, it removes the ability of the law to define marriage by the number of people wanting to be “joined.” The application of the decision to laws against polygamy have already been seriously debated in the mainstream press, including Slate, The Atlantic and The Washington Post, among others. This is not a hypothetical exercise. It is the next logical step. Counsel for Obergefell was asked expressly during oral argument last April why her position would not lead to invalidating laws against polygamy. She simply begged the question by stating that no states now allow for plural marriage. The social pressure to change that has already begun. The legal pressure will follow almost immediately.

Applying due process analysis also has profound and disturbing implications for religious liberty. By elevating same-sex (or other forms of) marriage to a fundamental human liberty, Obergefell removes the possibility of legitimate moral dissent from such unions. That means that institutions that do not accommodate or endorse same-sex unions will be open to legal and regulatory sanctions. For example, challenges to tax-exempt status for churches that will not perform or recognize same-sex unions will begin almost immediately. Similarly, faith-based universities that do not provide the same housing or other accommodations to same-sex married couples as they do to heterosexual couples will be attacked for failing to protect this fundamental human liberty.

The U.S. Solicitor General was asked during oral argument whether a decision striking down laws against same-sex marriage could lead to the revocation of tax-exempt status for universities that will not recognize same-sex marriage. His answer was affirmative. This means that a person who makes charitable contributions to such schools or churches will not get the tax benefit of deducting that amount from their income for tax calculation. Of course, such contributions will dry up.

Moreover, the same principle can (and will) be applied to deny federal financial aid to students who attend such universities, and to deny federal contracts and grants to them. If same-sex marriage is a fundamental right under the due process clause, the federal government will not support any person or institution that dissents. And regulations disqualifying such universities from direct or indirect federal grants or financial aid will be promulgated in short order by the Obama administration. This is not a hypothetical possibility. The Obama administration has already shown its contempt for religious liberty under Affordable Care Act litigation.

After the Obergefell ruling, the logical next step is federally mandated discrimination against those who are morally opposed to same-sex marriage. The question is not if these things will happen; it is when. And the answer is, almost immediately.

Kenneth R. Craycraft, Jr., is a resident of Milford and an attorney with the Shade Law Group, LLC, Mason. A former professor of Moral Theology at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, he is the author of The American Myth of Religious Freedom.

For more on religious freedom issues:

Click here for our Religious Liberty resources page. Click here to see all our previous stories and guest posts on religious liberty issues.

Click here for the USCCB’s resource page on the Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty.

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2 days 11 hours
All four sisters teaching at St. Gertrude (a fourth couldn’t be present for the photo) will return to the Madeira, OH, school next year.

All four sisters teaching at St. Gertrude (a fourth couldn’t be present for the photo) will return to the Madeira, OH, school next year.

Before the school year ended, four Dominican Sisters who taught at St. Gertrude School in Madiera (OH) announced that they will all return to teach next year (one couldn’t be present for the photo). It was an exciting moment for the school — because the sisters are in high demand at other ministry sites, those teaching at St. Gertrude usually move on to another assignment after one year.

Photo courtesy St. Gertrude School.

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2 days 11 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: The site of the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 3.53.54 PM

By Kerri Lenartowick
Catholic News Agency

More than 10 years ago, Joseph Prever found himself scouring the internet for anything that might help him: he was gay, Catholic, and confused. Resources were scarce for a man struggling with homosexuality and trying to remain faithful to the Church’s teaching.

In the intervening years, Catholics experiencing same-sex attraction have become a more vocal presence in the Church.

Google the words “gay Catholic” and one of the top sites to appear will be Prever’s own blog, a blog with the tagline: “Catholic, Gay, and Feeling Fine.” There, the 32-year-old writer considers his own experiences as a man struggling with same-sex attraction and trying to live out the virtue of chastity.

What follows is an edited version of a conversation about everything from homosexuality and Batman to poetry and football. The interview is published in two parts.

Part One

Can you introduce yourself and your blog?

I’m Joe Prever. I used to blog under the pseudonym Steve Gershom. I’ve been doing that for 2 or 3 years now. The blog is about what it’s like to be a gay Catholic – a gay Catholic who is of course, celibate – and I say ‘of course’ because that seems to me like the only option if you’re going to be both gay and Catholic. On the blog I try to stay away from abstract discourse about spirituality and sexuality in general and more towards lived experience: that’s what I see as my niche.

Why did you start writing a blog?

I honestly don’t remember the thought process that led me to it, but I do remember wishing at one point that there was somebody blogging like that, and in fact these days there are just a whole lot of people in my situation who are blogging, and that’s really great. It seems liked it’s very much exploded in the last 2-3 years. My friends and I joke that there’s a gay Catholic renaissance on, or actually a gay Christian renaissance on, and we’re proud to be at the forefront of it – or at least we tell ourselves that we’re at the forefront.

Did those other people read your blog before they started theirs?

Some of them did, yes. In fact, a couple of them have said to me that I was someone who helped to inspire them to start, so I’m very proud of that.

This was 2 or 3 years ago. Even at that time there were a fair amount of resources, in the sense that there were people who were writing about it, and you could find various testimonials online if you googled hard enough, but there were very few people who, on a day to day basis were like, ‘here’s what this is like, here’s how you deal with that,’ etc.

And so you decided you were going to be that resource?

Yes. Because at that time, I was sort of starting to feel for the first time that things were very much manageable, and I think back to this very specific moment in college when I was 18 or 19, and googling this kind of stuff, just to see if there was anybody out there who I could relate to and who would have some wisdom to share about it, and I did in fact find some stuff. It was remembering the feeling of how good it was to find that made me want to pass that along.

You blogged pseudonymously for years and then you ‘came out,’ so to speak, last summer. Why did you decide to do that?

It was one of those decisions where by the time you make it, you realize that you’ve already made it, if you see what I mean. It was hard in the sense that I’d actually always said that people shouldn’t be public about being gay, because it was not anybody’s business and I felt that it would lend legitimacy to this idea that being gay is a sort of a single way to identify yourself: I actually still sort of hold that position – kind of. (Laughs).

It’s hard to describe: I don’t think that being gay is as essential of a way to identify yourself as say, being male is, or being Catholic, or being human. I guess my position right now is that if the cultural atmosphere were different from what it is, then I don’t know whether I would have gone public.

The real reason I did is because of the blog, and talking about these things in general, and the cultural conversation in general that’s happening right now – all of these things have become such a big part of my life… it wasn’t really a question of honesty. It’s just that when something is so much a part of your life, people ask you, ‘oh, so what’ve you got going on?’ or ‘what are you doing these days?’ and I felt really lame saying, ‘oh, you know, programming computers. Watching movies. Hanging out. Stuff.’

So honestly, it was largely a vanity thing. It’s like the scene in Batman Begins where Bruce Wayne is doing this, ‘I’m a rich celebrity playboy’ thing, and he’s bathing in fountains and buying hotels and so forth, and Katie Holmes’ (character) is upset with him for being such a wastrel. (Laughs) And I felt like I wanted to be publicly Batman: strictly for vanity-related reasons. I wanted everyone to know how awesome I am.

I’m trying not to laugh…

Well, it’s perfectly true. And I suppose there are other reasons, like I want to be a public witness and things like that, but I suspect that it’s mostly vanity.

What response did you get when you ‘came out’? When people began to associate you with this gay guy who writes a blog?

On the day that I made public the post where I came out, I received just piles and piles of comments and emails and text messages. Most were from people I didn’t know, except for the text messages, obviously, but a very large portion of them were from people who had known me for a long time and who just wanted to say how pleased they were that I had done this and how proud they were of me to have taken this stance, and how courageous they thought I was and how honored they were to be my friend, and all of this stuff. In other words, I can’t think of a single friend, family member, or acquaintance who did not greet this revelation with support.

I think I would have had a very, very different response were I not celibate. When I get negative feedback, which I occasionally do from people who disagree with what the Church teaches, they say that I am being made a poster boy and that I’m being used – which is to say, conservative Christians are super happy to have somebody to point to whom they can say, ‘well look, here’s one person who agrees with us.’

Do you think being accused of being a ‘poster boy’ means that people are people angered by your celibacy?

That’s an interesting question. I think some people are angered on my behalf for what they perceive to be a sort of ‘Stockholm syndrome,’ and I’ve actually heard that phrase thrown around more than once. People see me defending the Church’s teachings on marriage, and on sexuality, and what they see is somebody who’s been taught to suppress his own nature for so long that he’s actually come to believe the things he’s been told about himself – that’s what they see.

What’s really there?

I can’t sum myself up, but the point is that if any of the people who accuse me of being the poster boy or of having ‘Stockholm syndrome’ or anything like that were actually to read the things I’ve said, they would see that, number one, I don’t sort of unquestioningly accept whatever I’m told about sexuality, but I always bring it back to my own experience. And number two, I very much admit the difficulties inherent in the life I live and I don’t pretend that they don’t exist. And I don’t think I would do either of those things if I had ‘Stockholm syndrome.’

Your blog header is, ‘Catholic, Gay, and Feeling Fine,’ and you’ve been using the word ‘gay’ throughout our conversation so far. Do you have any thoughts on that word, as opposed to ‘same-sex attraction’ or other terms?

Absolutely. That is another hard question, and it’s a question about which my position has been continually shifting, so I don’t feel as though I’ve found solid ground yet.

I’ve always used the word. It used to be that I would use the word in writing, but sort of in my interior monologue and in private conversation I would say ‘same-sex attracted.’ I used to joke that the only reason I used the word gay was so that I would tend to show up more on Google, which is only partially a joke, because you know if you’re going to use the tools of technology to evangelize, then you have to be savvy about what Google is going to find and what it isn’t.

But I guess the shift mainly happened as I began to approach being more public about it, because as I became more public I also came into contact more openly with people who identified as gay or who struggled with same-sex attraction, or whatever. And what I found was that a lot of them had a lot of resentment towards people who insisted on not using the word gay.

Why did they have resentment?

For a few reasons. It’s a really complicated topic, and I’m not sure how to distill what is offensive about it. One, is that it’s offensive to be told what you ought to be allowed to call yourself. And in fact, I rarely feel strongly about whether I should use the word gay or not, but the one time I do feel strongly about it is when somebody starts upbraiding me for it. Because it feels incredibly intrusive.

This is a topic that gets very political very fast. It’s the sort of thing where people feel, and I think rightly, that they have been constrained to keep silent for most of their lives – and a lot of people have, whether it’s constrained by actual explicit homophobia among the people that they love and/or are related to, or whether it’s just sort of a general culture understanding that you don’t talk about this sort of thing. So you have a set of people who have felt this way for most of their lives, and then you have people saying ‘oh, well it’s sort of cool now if you talk about that, but just be sure you talk about it in this or that way.’ This is frustrating and comes across as very patronizing because these are people who don’t have any insight into the experience of what it is to be gay telling you what it is or is not ok to talk about, and what it is and is not ok to call yourself.

Would you also apply that criticism to the Church who never uses the word ‘gay’ in her documents?

I understand why She (the Church) doesn’t. I don’t know if that will continue to be the case. I don’t have any bitterness towards the Church as a whole in that way.

This is reason that I haven’t yet come to a solid opinion on this question – because the problem is that secular people and Christian people mean two different things by the word ‘gay.’

Could you explain that a little more?

It’s really hard to distill. But you know what’s at the heart of it?

When I told my roommate I was gay, the first thing that he said to me was, ‘do you mean same-sex attracted?’ And that was actually the precisely wrong thing to say, and I don’t hold it against him. (Laughs) But the heart of it is that I was telling him this incredibly personal thing, and he was instructing me in the right way to feel about it, immediately, from the get-go.

Now I think that one reason Christians tend to dislike the word ‘gay’ is because if somebody says that they are gay, then they are usually implying that it is an unchangeable aspect of their personality. Whereas the sort of default position among a lot of Christians is that homosexuality is changeable. The unspoken implication is that if you identify yourself as ‘gay,’ then you’re probably not trying hard enough to be straight. And I believe that this why it is so offensive to be told that they shouldn’t use the word gay.

It might be true that some people can change to some extent, but it’s extremely offensive to assume that the only reason somebody hasn’t changed is because they haven’t tried. And even though very few people would have the chutzpah to make that explicit, I do believe that that’s the belief that’s behind it.

What do you think we should be doing as a Church, as a Christian community, to be helping people who struggle with homosexuality?

That’s a really good question! I’ll start first by saying that I’m extremely grateful for the organization People Can Change, which is an organization founded precisely on the idea that radical change with respect to homosexuality is possible. I’m grateful for them not because they ‘made me straight’ or something, but because they gave me a space in which to work out some of my issues, many of which turned out not to be related precisely to homosexuality in particular, but were just sort of emotional issues that needed dealing with.

I think a lot of gay men and women do have emotional issues that aren’t going to be dealt with if they’re told that everything is already ok. But on the other hand, this is dangerous because you have a lot of Christian people already assuming from the get-go that if somebody is homosexual, then they must have various and many emotional issues that need working on, and that’s not necessarily the case. (Laughs) So you see why this is difficult!

If the understanding in the Christian world is that homosexuality is a “disorder,” and homosexual activity is a sin, then logically it would seem like as Christians, we would want to help our fellow Christians who are “dis-ordered” to be “ordered.” Do you think there’s a problem with that logic?

I think there’s a problem with that phraseology. There’s a subtle but importance difference in saying that somebody has a disordered inclination and saying that somebody is disordered.

The Church has to be clear with respect to ‘what is the nature of homosexuality itself,’ but can’t make a pronouncement on whether it is a mental disorder, for example. Many people assume that when the Church says ‘homosexuality consists of a disordered inclination,’ they take that word ‘disorder’ and assume that She means ‘mental disorder.’ But I think the Catechism has purposely phrased it in such a way that you can’t actually conclude that if you’re reading carefully. But it takes careful reading.

The Church never changes her underlying principles, but when something new happens, it’s always a question of, ‘well, what do the underlying principles dictate in this particular situation?’ And a lot of the times it turns out that it doesn’t dictate what we thought it did but it takes a while to figure that out.

What do you think the underlying principles are that are dictating what the Church is saying about homosexuality?

That men are men, and women are women, and the two are not the same.

Do you want to expound on that at all?

Nooooo. (Laughs).

Well, what I think is that one, at the bottom of it, men and women are different. Number two, that eros is different from friendship, and number three, that physical acts have spiritual meanings.

I think those things are the fundamental axioms that we have to work with here. And I think those things are precisely the things that are being argued about. I don’t think the Church is arguing about them, and I don’t think She should, because as far as I’m concerned, those things are absolutely essential to what the Church believes about people. But those things are very much being debated in the broader culture.

I’ll tell you how I see myself and what I do, which is not only with respect to homosexuality but with how I try to live the Catholic faith in general. I try to live my life by those principles that make sense to me as a human being, and are consonant with what I know about human nature and with what the world at large has discovered about human nature. However, I also believe that if anything is true, it is Christian: that every truth is a Christian truth, and that there can be no truth about human nature which is not consonant with what the Church teaches about human nature.

Posted June 30, 2015

20 hours 41 min
Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr and others process in at the opening of the "Farm Mass" Sept. 5 at the farm of Randy Louiso in West Union. (CT Photo/Paul Hannah)

Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr and others process in at the opening of the “Farm Mass” Sept. 5 at the farm of Randy Louiso in West Union last year. (CT Photo/Paul Hannah)


A farming family in Botkins, Ohio, will welcome Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer, as well as Catholics from the St. Mary’s and Sidney deaneries to this year’s Rural-Urban Mass, July 23, at 6:30 pm.

The bishop will say Mass at the farm of Joe and Joanna Goettemoeller, 13775 Lock Two Road, Botkins. Some seating will be provided, but individuals attending Mass should consider bringing lawn chairs.

At the Mass Bishop Binzer will present Catholic Century Farm Awards to 11 Catholic farm families who have applied for admission to the Catholic Century Farm Registry for the Sidney and St. Marys deaneries.  The award recognizes Catholic families who have continuously farmed the same land for 100 years or more.

Parishioners at Immaculate Conception in Botkins will offer refreshments following Mass.

The annual Rural-Urban Mass is an opportunity for farmers and the people who share in the benefits of an agricultural community to come together in a prayerful way to praise God for the blessings of faith, farm and family.

“Catholic Rural Life of the St. Marys and Sidney Deaneries plans the Rural-Urban Mass, alternating it between the two deaneries,” said Vern Seger, Chair of Catholic Rural Life.

Catholic Rural Life serves Catholics who directly work in agriculture or live in communities supported by agriculture. Catholic Rural Life of the St. Marys and Sidney Deaneries also has offered Rural Plunges to university and junior high school students and adult faith communities in addition to the Rural-Urban Mass.

The local group meets in January, March, May, September and November on the second Monday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the St. Charles Senior Living Community, 2860 U.S. Route 127, Celina. Call Pam Long, regional director of the Catholic Social Action Office, for more information, 937-224-3026, or email

This article originally appeared in the July 2015 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.

22 hours 36 min
Pope Francis, still wearing a yellow pin commemorating the victims of last April’s ferry disaster, walks down the aisle to answer questions from journalists aboard the papal flight from Seoul, South Korea, to Rome Aug. 18. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-PLANE Aug. 18, 2014.

Pope Francis, still wearing a yellow pin commemorating the victims of last April’s ferry disaster, walks down the aisle to answer questions from journalists aboard the papal flight from Seoul, South Korea, to Rome Aug. 18, 2014. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — In word and deed, Pope Francis will take his vision of a Catholic’s approach to family life, parish life, charity, economics, immigration and good governance to Cuba and the United States during a Sept. 19-27 visit.

Visiting both Cuba and the United States on the same trip not only acknowledges his role in encouraging detente between them, but will give Pope Francis an opportunity to demonstrate that while different political and cultural challenges face Catholics in both countries, the Gospel and its values are the same.

On June 30, the Vatican published the detailed schedule of Pope Francis’ Sept. 19-22 visit to Cuba and his Sept. 22-27 visit to the United States.

For Pope Francis, one of the key values Catholics in the U.S. and Cuba share is the obligation to “go out,” proclaiming the Gospel and bringing God’s mercy to the poorest and most disadvantaged people.

The standard of living in the United States may be exponentially higher than in Cuba, but in Pope Francis’ vision that only increases the responsibility of U.S. Catholics to reach out and to share. He will demonstrate what he means when he meets homeless people in Washington Sept. 24, children and immigrant families at a Catholic school in Harlem when he visits New York Sept. 25, and prisoners Sept. 27 in Philadelphia.

The closing Mass for the World Meeting of Families will follow the papal meeting with prisoners. The World Meeting of Families international congress Sept. 22-25 and the celebration of families with the pope Sept. 26-27 were the initial reason for the papal visit.

With the Catholic Church’s constant concern for promoting strong families and with the world Synod of Bishops on the family set to start one week after the papal visit, marriage and family life are expected to be topics throughout the pope’s visit to both Cuba and the United States.

Long before the Vatican released the full trip itinerary, it had confirmed certain parts of it: U.S. President Barack Obama will welcome the pope to the White House Sept. 23; that afternoon, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and canonize Blessed Junipero Serra; the pope will address a joint meeting of Congress Sept. 24, becoming the first pope to do so; and Pope Francis will address the U.N. General Assembly Sept. 25. It is thought the pope may bring up some of the points he made in his recent environmental encyclical, “Laudato Si’,” given that world nations will come together just a few months later for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in the hopes of reaching global agreement on reducing greenhouse gases.

The pope also is expected to emphasize the contributions of U.S. Catholics to society, defend religious liberty and support the church’s right to uphold its teaching, including in its employment practices. He will use his visit to ground zero in New York as an occasion for an interreligious gathering.

The pope will spend three days in Cuba visiting three different cities, including the popular Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre.

He will hold the usual meetings with President Raul Castro, young people, families and religious as well as celebrate Mass and vespers all three days. But he also will bless the cities of Holguin and Santiago de Cuba — blessing Holguin from a panoramic hilltop and pilgrimage site called Cross Hill.

It will be his third visit to the Americas after Brazil in 2013 and Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay in July, and his 10th trip abroad since his election in 2013.

Here is the schedule for the trip. All times are local unless otherwise indicated.

Saturday, Sept. 19 (Rome, Havana)

— 10:15 a.m. (4:15 a.m. EDT), Departure from Rome’s Fiumicino airport for Havana.

— 4:05 p.m. Arrival ceremony at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport. Speech by pope.

Sunday, Sept. 20 (Havana)

— 9 a.m. Mass in Havana’s Revolution Square. Homily by pope. Recitation of the Angelus.

— 4 p.m. Courtesy visit with Cuba’s President Raul Castro in Havana’s Palace of the Revolution.

— 5:15 p.m. Celebration of vespers with priests, religious and seminarians in Havana’s cathedral. Homily by pope.

— 6:30 p.m. Greeting to young people at the Father Felix Varela cultural center in Havana. Remarks by pope.

Monday, Sept. 21 (Havana, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba, El Cobre)

— 8 a.m. Departure by air for Holguin, Cuba.

— 9:20 a.m. Arrival at Holguin’s Frank Pais International Airport.

— 10:30 a.m. Mass in Holguin’s Revolution Square. Homily by pope.

— 3:45 p.m. Blessing of the city of Holguin from Cross Hill (Loma de la Cruz).

— 4:40 p.m. Departure by air for Santiago de Cuba.

— 5:30 p.m. Arrival at Santiago de Cuba’s Antonio Maceo International Airport.

— 7 p.m. Meeting with bishops at the seminary of St. Basil the Great in El Cobre.

— 7:45 p.m. Prayer to Our Lady of Charity with bishops and the papal entourage in the Minor Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre.

Tuesday, Sept. 22 (El Cobre, Santiago de Cuba, Washington)

— 8 a.m. Mass in the Minor Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre. Homily by pope.

— 11 a.m. Meeting with families in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Assumption in Santiago de Cuba. Speech by pope. Blessing of the city from the outside of the cathedral.

— 12:15 p.m. Farewell ceremony at Santiago de Cuba’s International Airport.

— 12:30 p.m. Departure for Washington.

— 4 p.m. Arrival at Andrews Air Force Base. Official welcome.

Wednesday, Sept. 23 (Washington)

— 9:15 a.m. Welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. Speech by pope, followed by a courtesy visit with Obama.

— 11:30 a.m. Meeting with U.S. bishops in the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. Speech by pope.

— 4:15 p.m. Mass and canonization of Blessed Junipero Serra in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Homily by pope.

Thursday, Sept. 24 (Washington, New York)

— 9:20 a.m. Visit to the U.S. Congress. Speech by pope.

— 11:15 a.m. Visit to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and meeting with homeless people. Greeting by pope.

— 4 p.m. Departure by air to New York.

— 5 p.m. Arrival at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

— 6:45 p.m. Celebration of vespers with priests, men and women religious in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Homily by pope.

Friday, Sept. 25 (New York)

— 8:30 a.m. Visit the headquarters of the United Nations. Greeting and speech by pope.

— 11:30 a.m. Interreligious meeting at the ground zero 9/11 Memorial. Speech by pope.

— 4 p.m. Visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Elementary School in East Harlem and meeting with children and immigrant families. Speech by pope.

— 6 p.m. Mass at Madison Square Garden. Homily by pope.

Saturday, Sept. 26 (New York, Philadelphia)

— 8:40 a.m. Departure by air to Philadelphia.

— 9:30 a.m. Arrival at Philadelphia’s International Airport.

— 10:30 a.m. Mass with Pennsylvania’s bishops, priests, men and women religious at Philadelphia’s Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul. Homily by pope.

— 4:45 p.m. Meeting for religious liberty with the Hispanic community and immigrants at Philadelphia’s Independence Mall. Speech by pope.

— 7:30 p.m. Festival of Families and prayer vigil at Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Speech by pope.

Sunday, Sept. 27 (Philadelphia)

— 9:15 a.m. Meeting with bishops taking part in the World Meeting of Families at the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. Speech by pope.

— 11 a.m. Visit with prisoners at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. Speech by pope.

— 4 p.m. Closing Mass of the VIII World Meeting of Families at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Homily by pope.

— 7 p.m. Greeting to the organizing committee, volunteers and donors at Philadelphia’s International Airport. Speech by pope.

— 7:45 p.m. Farewell ceremony.

— 8 p.m. Departure for Rome.

Monday, Sept. 28 (Rome)

— 10 a.m. (4:45 a.m. EDT). Arrival at Rome’s Ciampino airport.


Posted June 30, 2015

1 day 2 hours
 Be Multiplied is an initiative of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Food for All: Be Multiplied is an initiative of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Staff Report

No one should be hungry.

The archdiocesan Catholic Social Action Office, in partnership with the Office of the New Evangelization, Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio and Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley, is sponsoring Food for All: Be Multiplied, launching July 1. The effort localizes Pope Francis’ “One Human Family, Food for All” vision to eliminate hunger by 2025.

A number of events are planned throughout the next several months. Parishes, schools, and businesses and other organizations such as St. Vincent de Paul are challenged to pledge food to the Food for All Campaign. Many parishes and schools already organize successful food drives throughout the year.  Each parish is challenged to pledge 5,000 pounds of non-perishables to be donated to their local food pantry. Food can be collected any time and include regularly planned 2015-16 food drives. A social media campaign will highlight the parishes, schools, and businesses making a pledge. The goal is 1,000,000 food items pledged. For more information, call Sean Ater at 513 421-3131, ext. 2733.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati and Food for All have come together to build a home honoring Pope Francis for his commitment to the poor. A kick off celebration for the home was held June 20 with an invocation by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer. Construction on the four-bedroom room is expected to be completed in early September. The house, being built for Ebony Bureau and family, is located in Millvale at 1620 Hopple Court. For more information and to volunteer contact Monica Human, volunteer coordinator, at 513-482-5614, or

The Office of the New Evangelization and the Catholic Schools Office are hosting a family Obstacle Run, 5K, food drive and after party for the whole community on Sept. 5 at Summit Park in Blue Ash. The event will feature fun for all ages. For more information, call Sean Ater.

Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio, Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley and the Catholic Social Action Office will provide parishes with the opportunity to host educational presentations on the subject of living in a food desert or facing a food hardship. Speakers and study materials and refreshments will be provided. Call Lisa Edward at 513-672-3720 for more information.

During his visit this fall, Pope Francis will speak to the U.S. Congress. The archdiocese is encouraging local Catholics to advocate for the protection of Child Nutrition Programs in the federal budget. Parishes can participate in the Offering of Letters designed by Bread for the World, an ecumenical Christian voice, which is supported by the USCCB, urging national leaders to end hunger at home and abroad. Between now and early September, parishes are encouraged to conduct an Offering of Letters and to consider including a moment of education on domestic hunger. These resources can be accessed at http://www., or by contacting the Catholic Social Action Office
at 513-421-3131, ext. 2660, or Collected letters should be sent to the Catholic Social Action Office, so that they can be included with letters from Catholics throughout the entire archdiocese, blessed by the arch bishop, and delivered together to Congressional representatives.

Learn more about hunger during an evening with World Food Prize laureate Rev. David Beckmann, one of the foremost U.S. advocates on behalf of hungry and poor people, on Oct 21 (Dayton) and 22 (Cincinnati). He has been president of Bread for the World since 1991, leading large-scale and successful campaigns to strengthen U.S. political commitment to overcome hunger and poverty in the country and around the world. The event will include a dinner that incorporates a hunger awareness exercise (i.e. different meals served to represent range of food available to world populations). Call 800-300- 2937, ext. 1141 for information on the event.

More information about the campaign, ways to get involved and upcoming events can be found HERE

This Body & Soul feature originally appeared in the July 2015 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.

1 day 22 hours
U.S. Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore speaks to journalists at the Foreign Press Club in Rome in this file photo. Archbishop Lori discussed issues related to religious liberty in the United States the day before he was to receive the pallium from Pope Benedict XVI. (CNS photo/Ann M. Augherton, Arlington Catholic Herald)

U.S. Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore speaks to journalists at the Foreign Press Club in Rome in this file photo. Archbishop Lori discussed issues related to religious liberty in the United States the day before he was to receive the pallium from Pope Benedict XVI. (CNS photo/Ann M. Augherton, Arlington Catholic Herald)

By Julie Asher Catholic News Service 

WASHINGTON (CNS)— Analyzing the ramifications of the June 26 same-sex marriage ruling for the Catholic Church at the national, state and local levels will take time, said Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore.

It has implications for “hundreds, if not thousands” of laws at all levels, and there is “a difficult road ahead for people of faith,” he said.

Archbishop Lori, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, made the comments in a teleconference for news media held about three hours after the Supreme Court issued its 5-4 decision that states must license same-sex marriage.

Joining him in the media briefing were two members of the bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military, and Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas; and Anthony Picarello, associate general secretary and general counsel at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Tragically, the court was wrong,” said Archbishop Broglio, adding that this is “not the first time” a “false understanding of marriage” has been forced on the country, as by lower court rulings.

“Clearly the decision was not required by the Constitution (and) the narrowness of the decision reveals it is not settled,” he continued. “Marriage is unchangeable.”

Echoing an earlier statement by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, USCCB president, Archbishop Broglio said the church will continue to follow Christ, “in solidarity with pope,” in adhering to the church’s teaching on marriage being between one man and one woman.

Archbishop Lori acknowledged that the court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges “makes a nod in the direction of religious liberty.” But that, he said, is too narrow.

The ruling “recognizes free speech, the right of religion to teach or advocate with regard to the true definition of marriage, but it does not acknowledge (that) the First Amendment also protects freedom of religion and the right to follow our teaching,” he said.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, recognized in several places the role of religious beliefs in the questions surrounding same-sex marriage, saying that “it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.”

Kennedy also said in part that “those who believe allowing same-sex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and searching debate.”

But Archbishop Lori said free speech is not at issue. Under the ruling, “we retain the right to think what we want at home and within the confines of the church” but it does not address the First Amendment’s guarantee to free exercise of religion. The church should be able to operate “our ministries … without fear of being silenced, penalized,” he said.

Through social services, “we serve millions of people every day. We do it well and we do it lovingly,” he added.

He foresees many legal challenges and controversies as the church seeks to protect itself from the fallout of the marriage ruling by advocating at the federal, state and local levels for protections for its faith-based practices.

Some areas where there will be legal disputes, Picarello said, were outlined by Chief Justice John Roberts, including tax exemptions, campus housing, academic accreditation, employment and employee benefits.

The U.S. Catholic Church will have to look at internal ways to protect itself against legal challenges, Picarello said, and “advocate externally for legislation, regulation and, if necessary, litigation.”

Picarello said free speech protections for opponents of same-sex marriage were already under attack. Within a couple of hours of the decision being issued, he said, a newspaper in Pennsylvania announced it will no longer accept op-eds criticizing same-sex marriage.

“Some things will happen immediately,” as seen by that newspaper’s announcement, he said, and some will take time to unfold,” like challenges to churches receiving tax exemptions.

Another area that will require study, Archbishop Broglio said, is the military chaplaincy, because the Catholic priest-chaplains whom his archdiocese oversees also come under civil authorities.

While polls show a majority of Catholics say they approve of same-sex marriage, Catholic teaching is “never determined by numbers but by the truth,” Archbishop Broglio said. “We have to be faithful to the teaching of the Gospel.”

“In a pastoral context we respond to the individual in his or her need and that’s quite different than what we teach concretely,” he added. The church must make its “teaching on marriage very, very clear,” while at the time be pastoral to individuals.

The church teaches marriage is between a man and a woman and that sex outside marriage is a sin. At the same time the church upholds the human dignity of all people, Archbishop Lori said, adding, “We preach the truth with love in season and out of season.”

“It is evident we are living in an age of dramatic cultural shift,” said Bishop Flores, and the church has to think about how to share its teaching and “announce the good news … as creatively as possible in current cultural context.”

But he added that the church’s teaching on marriage “also has something to do with bringing children into the world” and about stable families. “We ought to have our eye not on ourselves or our own emotional needs … but the needs of the young.”

Bishop Flores said rhetoric such as calling opponents of same-sex marriage bigots is used at times “to avoid understanding the rationale” of what the church teaches.

“For our part we have to be prepared for that kind of rhetoric and simply respond with charitable but persuasive” explanations of the church’s rationale and what word “marriage” means and the way it has been understood for millennia, he added.

Archbishop Broglio added that the Catholic Church survived the anti-Catholicism of the Know-Nothing period, “so we will survive this.”

Posted June 29, 2015

1 day 22 hours
This undated photograph shows a close-up of the table where executions are carried out by lethal injection at San Quentin State Prison in California. (CNS photo/courtesy of California Department of Corrections)

This undated photograph shows a close-up of the table where executions are carried out by lethal injection at San Quentin State Prison in California. (CNS photo/courtesy of California Department of Corrections)


The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the continued use of a drug that has been accused of causing excruciating pain in several controversial state executions.

The 5-4 ruling in Glossip v. Gross was announced June 29.

Lawyers for three death-row inmates in Oklahoma had argued before the court that the state’s three-drug protocol for executions violated constitutional bans on cruel and unusual punishment.

The execution protocol includes the sedative midazolam. The drug’s effectiveness was recently called into question when it was used in several unusually prolonged executions in Ohio, Arizona and Oklahoma in which inmates appeared to suffer significantly during their deaths.

In the 2014 execution of Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett, the sedated man’s body writhed and he breathed heavily for more than 40 minutes until he died of a heart attack.

Oklahoma officials had argued that the protocol was consistent with the Supreme Court’s previous lethal injection ruling. I

2 days 59 min
Supporters of traditional marriage between a man and a woman rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington June 26, shortly before the justices handed down a 5-4 ruling that states must license same-sex marriages and must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters)

Supporters of traditional marriage between a man and a woman rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington June 26, shortly before the justices handed down a 5-4 ruling that states must license same-sex marriages and must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters)

By Catholic News Service 

WASHINGTON — Here is a sampling of reaction to the June 26 Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling that same-sex marriage is constitutional nationwide:

Marriage as the union of one man and one woman is a truth that predates courts and constitutions. This understanding transcends cultures, religions and all time — it is the foundation of civilization. … Men and women are not interchangeable. Marriage is not ours to define. History, nature and revelation all profess these truths. Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court changes none of this. The court deals with civil law not revealed truth or religious faith. The court’s opinion rightly affirms the freedom of religious organizations to continue to express and teach the truth of marriage. Nonetheless, the court’s ruling has the potential to create circumstances in which the Church’s teaching and practices may be perceived to conflict with civil law.” — Archdiocese of Washington.

“Going forward, the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage will have a significant ripple effect upon the first amendment right to religious liberty. It sets the church’s teaching about marriage in opposition to the law and will create inestimable conflicts between the state and religious persons and institutions. As the impact of the decision plays out over the coming weeks and months the Catholic Church will continue to preach the truth about marriage and will promote, in the public square, this truth as what is good for society and our world.” — Catholic bishops of Michigan.

“In his majority opinion today in Obergefell v. Hodges, Justice (Anthony) Kennedy affirmed that religious liberty and conscience rights must be a part of the implementation of this decision. It’s encouraging to see the majority emphasize religious liberty throughout the opinion. Indeed it appears to be religious liberty that forms common ground between the majority and the dissenters. If we are to maintain a pluralistic and vibrant society, people of faith must continue to be able to hold and express a multiplicity of views, and today’s opinion affirmed that fundamental American principle.” — Ashley McGuire, Catholic Association

“Marriage precedes the creation of states and by its nature remains the union of one man and one woman. No court, no law, and no amount of political correctness or wishful thinking can really change what marriage is. Men and women were designed by God in complementary relation to one another, and only a man and a woman can form a conjugal union that brings forth children. Today’s ruling blatantly ignores the fundamental right of all children to be raised, where possible, by a loving mother and a father in a stable home. The law should respect and protect every child’s basic rights.” — Catholic bishops of Colorado.

“I join many voices in denouncing this decision. This misfortune now attempts on a national basis what state of Illinois sought to do in 2013 in attempting to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. It was an “attempt” because the state has no moral authority to change what God has created. The government certainly has the legal power in civil law to coerce its definition, but that does not make it morally valid in the higher realm of supernatural realities.” — Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois.

“We fear the courts decisions redefining marriage and the rights of the states will have a long term corrosive effect on the institution of marriage which is the bedrock of our society. We pray that marriage between a man and a woman will remain a strong truth in our world. The common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage.” — Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

“The decision issued today by the Supreme Court to effectively change the legal definition of marriage in the United States does not alter the unassailable truth that marriage is, and always will be, the life-long, life-giving union of one man and one woman.” — Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis.

“Today’s decision marks the capstone of a 20-year struggle by people committed to a vision of equality for same-sex couples. When the struggle began, the idea of same-sex marriage was an oxymoron. By the time the court took up the question, it was an inevitability. That change came about not through clever arguments in Court, but through the painstaking work of thousands of people across the country committed to an idea of equality, and willing to fight for it, in state legislatures, state courts, on state referenda, in their churches, at their dinner tables, and in their communities. The Supreme Court today did not so much change constitutional law as recognize that it had changed.” — Georgetown University law professor David Cole.

“All persons have inviolable dignity and deserve love and respect. Unjust discrimination is always wrong. However, our commitment to marriage is a matter of justice and fidelity to our Creator’s original design. Marriage is the only institution uniting one man and one woman with each other and with any child who comes from their union. Redefining marriage furthers no one’s rights, least of all those of children. As bishops, we believe it is more vital than ever that we share the church’s consistent witness to the truth about marriage, and we call on Catholics and those concerned for the common good to continue to pray, live and speak out with charity about the true nature of marriage. The truth cannot be marginalized.” — Catholic bishops of Virginia.

“We … recognize that while the conversation about same sex marriage has changed dramatically in recent years there are many Americans who will disagree with the decision and among them many who are concerned about its impact on their sincerely held religious beliefs. We call for sensitivity and civility in this debate, understanding that the vast majority on all sides are people of good will. Adjusting to change is not always easy or swift. Our society and, no doubt, our courts will continue to be challenged with the implementation of this decision. We call on all sides to respect the decision of the Supreme Court and each other’s religious and personal beliefs.” — Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

“We respect the dignity of all persons, not wishing to undermine their pursuit of happiness but only to preserve and defend the gift of marriage as divinely revealed in Scripture and in natural law. Although we respectfully disagree with those who would define marriage otherwise, we firmly hold that all persons are loved by our compassionate God and deserve the respect and dignity that is inherently theirs as human beings. We acknowledge the right of our nation’s highest court to provide for a well ordered society by establishing laws that protect the common good and safeguard the civil and contractual rights and privileges of its citizens. At the same time, we urge our lawmakers and judges to respect those institutions that are beyond state and federal jurisdiction, institutions such as sacramental marriage that transcend civil law and whose origins precede the existence of the state and go beyond its competence.” — Diocese of Salt Lake City.

“Just as Roe v. Wade was not the final word (on abortion), neither will today’s decision be the end of the matter. Roe created, and continues to create, a crisis of conscience for doctors and other medical professionals who, as a matter of faith, cannot participate in abortions. What Roe did to the medical profession, today’s decision does to the rest of us. By redefining marriage, the Supreme Court has ensured that there will be church-state conflict for generations to come.” — Bishop James V. Johnston of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Posted June 29, 2015

2 days 1 hour

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: Latest News Releases from USCCB
WASHINGTON—Pope Francis’ apostolic journey to the United States is “a source of joy and gratitude,” said the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in response to the release of the full visit schedule by the Vatican, June 30. Pope Francis will visit Washington, New York and Philadelphia, September 22-27. His visit will include addresses to Congress and the United Nations, the canonization of Blessed Junípero Serra and will culminate in his participation in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

“It’s a source of joy and gratitude for U.S. Catholics that Pope Francis will be visiting us this September,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, USCCB president. “We look forward to journeying with him, whether in person, in prayer or via the media, as he goes out to the peripheries and shows us what it means to live as brothers and sisters in one family.”

More information on the apostolic journey to the United States is available at

Media wishing to apply for credentials must do so through the U.S. Secret Service at (English) and (Spanish).
Keywords: Pope Francis, apostolic journey, United States, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Washington, New York, Philadelphia, World Meeting of Families, Congress, United Nations, Junípero Serra

Don Clemmer
O: 202-541-3206

1 day 8 hours