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From: The site of the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
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Archbishop Dennis M. SchnurrArchbishop Dennis M. Schnurr. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)

The bigotry and violence that descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia emerged from the same sin of racism which can plague any community in America, including those of our own Archdiocese. And so, as we approach the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, I echo for the faithful of our local Church the response of Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to these horrendous events and the resulting loss of life:

Let us unite ourselves in the spirit of hope offered by the clergy, people of faith, and all people of good will who peacefully defended their city and country.

We stand against the evil of racism, white supremacy and neo-nazism. We stand with our sisters and brothers united in the sacrifice of Jesus, by which love’s victory over every form of evil is assured. At Mass, let us offer a special prayer of gratitude for the brave souls who sought to protect us from the violent ideology displayed yesterday. Let us especially remember those who lost their lives. Let us join their witness and stand against every form of oppression.

As Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia observed, “the wave of public anger about white nationalist events in Charlottesville is well warranted.” Such public displays of bigotry attack our very core belief about who we are as human beings, creations made in God’s image and likeness with infinite dignity. As members of one human family, no one of us can ever claim to be superior to another in God’s eyes, let alone our own.

More needs to be done than to simply hope that such events as Charlottesville do not happen again. I urge all of us to stand firmly against such public displays of hate by being daily mindful of everyone’s inherent dignity in our churches, schools, workplaces and families. I challenge us all to oppose harassment of anyone on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, physical ability, orientation, or faith tradition. When we find ourselves bystanders to harassment, we must find the courage to stand up for justice and equality. In doing so, we need to summon the grace to respond civilly and not perpetuate the cycle of violence, no matter how righteous our cause.

On September 9, 2016, the Feast of St. Peter Claver, the U.S. Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati made a commitment to be more proactive in addressing racism and violence through the Peace in Our Communities campaign. In the wake of current events, as we approach the anniversary of this Feast, I recommit our local Archdiocese to addressing this disgrace through prayer, dialogue and tangible action.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati is the 44th largest Catholic diocese in the country, with more than 450,000 Catholics, and has the sixth largest network of Catholic schools in terms of enrollment.  The 19-county territory includes 211 parishes and 111 Catholic primary and secondary schools.

8 hours 57 min

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis offered his condolences and his prayers to the people of Sierra Leone after flooding and a major mudslide Aug. 14 led to the deaths of hundreds of people and displaced thousands.

“Deeply saddened by the devastating consequences of the mudslide on the outskirts of Freetown, His Holiness Pope Francis assures those who have lost loved ones of his closeness at this difficult time,” said a message sent to Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles of Freetown by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.

Pope Francis “prays for all who have died, and upon their grieving families and friends he invokes the divine blessings of strength and consolation,” said the message, which was released by the Vatican Aug. 16. The pope also “expresses his prayerful solidarity with the rescue workers and all involved in providing the much needed relief and support to the victims of this disaster.”

Visiting the hard-hit town of Regent, about 15 miles east of Freetown, President Ernest Bai Koroma described the devastation as “overwhelming” and pleaded for international assistance.

Soon after the disaster struck, Catholic Relief Services, the overseas aid agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, published an appeal to donors.

“More than 300 people were killed and property was destroyed” in the mudslide, CRS said. At least 100 homes were covered and more than 600 people were still missing early Aug. 16.

“The death toll is expected to rise,” the CRS appeal said. “Families affected by the Sierra Leone landslide need food, shelter, water and clothing,” which CRS and its partner Caritas will strive to provide.

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

9 hours 51 min

Archdiocese of Cincinnati  Students are heading back to the classroom for the 2017-2018 Academic Year. From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, a prayer for students:

Mother of Mercy Students head back to school. (Courtesy Photo)

Lord our God,
in your wisdom and love
you surround us with the mysteries of the universe.

Send your Spirit upon these students
and fill them with your wisdom and blessings.
Grant that they may
devote themselves to their studies
and draw ever closer to you,
the source of all knowledge.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R/. Amen.

Elder High School Students attend opening school Mass (Courtesy Photo) St. Ursula students are greeted by Bulldog Mascots, and teachers to begin their academic year. (Courtesy Photo) Students are given the Fenwick Mirror at the beginning of the school year (Courtesy Photo) Kettering Alter freshman enjoy orientation (Courtesy Photo) Mcauley High School students begin another academic year. (Courtesy Photo) Men of Moeller frosh at tech orientation (Courtesy Photo) Chaminade Julienne students attend Mass (Courtesy Photo) Seton High School enjoy a day of fun before the academic year commences (Courtesy Photo) Carroll High School Freshman at orientation (Courtesy Photo)
10 hours 38 min

IMAGE: CNS photo/Suhaib Salem, Reuters

By Josephine von Dohlen

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Trump administration renews its commitment to the protection of religious minority groups threatened by the Islamic State in the Middle East, according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the preface of the annual State Department report on international religious freedom, released Aug. 15.

“ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yezidis, Christians and Shia Muslims in areas it controlled,” Tillerson said in a statement Aug. 15. “ISIS is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups, and in some cases against Sunni Muslims, Kurds and other minorities.”

Since the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, the State Department documents the state of religious freedom in nearly 200 countries around the world, reporting to Congress the “violations and abuses committed by governments, terrorist groups, and individuals.”

Ambassador Michael Kozak of the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, which produces the report, spoke about it in a news conference Aug. 15, saying the report is used to create a fact base for U.S. government decision-making.

Kozak reported that while conditions for many do remain critical, there are signs of hope for the future.

“ISIS is being defeated,” Kozak said. “Since the defeat of ISIS in great chunks of Iraq, it means that religious minorities can return to their liberated towns and villages and the next challenge is to see that they have security and that their homes are rebuilt.”

Over the past 15 years, the number of Christians has fallen from between 1.4 million and 800,000 Christians to 250,000 Christians in Iraq today, with two-thirds being members of the Chaldean Catholic Church and nearly one-fifth members of the Assyrian Church of the East, according to the report. In Syria, less than 10 percent of the entire population is Christian.

“There is a growing consensus on the need to act, the genocidal acts of ISIS awakened the international community to the threats facing religious minorities,” Kozak said.

One way the U.S. responds to the threats of IS, as the Islamic State also is known, is through the Global Coalition, which was founded in 2014 as a group of 68 members, formed specifically for the purpose of reducing the number of threats from IS through military and other campaigns against the militant group, as well as providing humanitarian assistance to both Iraq and Syria.

“In the areas liberated from ISIS, the preferred option is to return people to their traditional villages and areas because we don’t want to uproot communities that have been there for thousands of years and take them elsewhere, if we can help them with the security and other means that they need to be able to resume traditional role as the valued members of their own societies,” Kozak said.

Kozak told the press that the U.S. has a “good record” in fighting against genocide, stating that the U.S. is in the process of “defeating the perpetrators of genocide pretty soundly” in Iraq and elsewhere, as he discussed the legal and moral obligations of countries working to combat genocide.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry first used the word genocide to describe the IS attacks in Iraq and Syria against minority religious groups such as the Christians, Yezidis and the Shiite Muslims back in March 2016.

Trump recently nominated Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to the post of ambassador at large for international religious freedom, whose position would allow him to work with the office of international religious freedom in the U.S. State Department to support religious freedom throughout the world.

In his weekly video address in April, President Donald Trump reminded America of the country’s commitment to religious freedom.

“From the beginning, America has been a place that has cherished the freedom of worship,” Trump said April 14. “Sadly, many around the globe do not enjoy this freedom. … We pray for the strength and wisdom to achieve a better tomorrow — one where good people of all faiths, Christians and Muslims and Jewish and Hindu, can follow their hearts and worship according to their conscience.”

In April, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom released its own report covering the 2016 calendar year and up to February 2017. Separate from the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom, the commission offers similar recommendations to the administration and to Congress on the state of religious freedom worldwide.

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 2 hours

IMAGE: CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a week in which natural disasters, war and racial conflicts dominated the headlines, Pope Francis prayed that Mary would bring peace to a divided world.

After reciting the Angelus prayer on the feast of the Assumption, the pope asked Mary to obtain “for everyone consolation and a future of serenity and harmony.”

“To Mary, Queen of Peace — who we contemplate today in the glory of paradise — I entrust once again the anxieties and sorrows of the people who suffer in many parts of the world due to natural disasters, social tensions or conflicts,” the pope told thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square Aug. 15.

Pope Francis did not name any specific location, but as he spoke, the search for survivors continued in Sierra Leone after a devastating mudslide engulfed the outskirts of the capital, Freetown, killing more than 300 people. Flooding and landslides also struck southern Nepal, killing at least 70 people.

In Charlottesville, Virginia, clashes between white nationalists and protesters resulted in the death of three people, including a 32-year-old paralegal, Heather D. Heyer, who was killed Aug. 12 when a car plowed into a group protesting the white nationalist rally.

In his main Angelus talk, the pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading, which recalled Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth.

The joy felt by Elizabeth and the child in her womb reflects the interior joy Christians feel in Christ’s presence, the pope said. “When Mary arrives, joy overflows and bursts from their hearts because the invisible yet real presence of Jesus fills everything with meaning: life, family, the salvation of the people. Everything!”

In response, Mary proclaims the Magnificat, her hymn of praise to God for his great works. Pope Francis said it is the hymn of “humble people, unknown to the world, like Mary, like her husband Joseph as well as the town where they live, Nazareth.”

God accomplishes “great things with humble people,” the pope said, inviting people in St. Peter’s Square to reflect on the state of their own humility.

“Humility is like an empty space that leaves room for God. A humble person is powerful because he is humble, not because he is strong. This is the greatness of humility,” he said.

The joy Mary brings because she brings Jesus to the world gives all Christians “a new ability to pass through the most painful and difficult moments with faith” as well as the “ability to be merciful, to forgive, understand and support each other.”

“Mary is a model of virtue and faith,” Pope Francis said. “We ask her to protect and sustain us that we may have a faith that is strong, joyful and merciful. May she help us to become saints, to meet her one day in paradise.”

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 9 hours

Members of the Knights of Columbus and their families around the world are encouraged to pray for their respective countries on August 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is being observed Orderwide as a Day of Prayer for Peace and Reconciliation.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson called for the August 15 observance in his Annual Report to the 135th Supreme Convention, August 1 in St. Louis. Citing the recent increase in political violence, including the shooting of members of Congress last June on a baseball field outside of Washington, D.C., he said:

“Violence and the rhetoric of violence have no place as a style of politics in America or any other country. … I call upon all my brother Knights and their families to again seek the intercession of Mary, Queen of Peace.”

Quoting from the Holy Father’s message for the 50th World Day of Peace, Anderson said, “Pope Francis urged people everywhere to adopt nonviolence as a style of politics — a style based on the recognition, ‘that the image and likeness of God in each person will enable us to acknowledge one another as sacred gifts endowed with immense dignity.’”

The supreme knight noted that words of Pope Benedict XVI, repeated by Pope Francis in his World Day of Peace message, struck him as especially appropriate for today’s political climate: “For Christians, nonviolence is not merely tactical behavior but a person’s way of being — the attitude of one who is so convinced of God’s love and power that he or she is not afraid to tackle evil with the weapons of love and truth alone.”

“Convinced of God’s Love and Power” was the theme of this year’s Supreme Convention.

In his report, Supreme Knight Anderson noted that “Pope Francis signed his message of peace on the feast of the Immaculate Conception” and asked “Can it simply be a coincidence that the Immaculate Conception is named patroness of the United States?” The prayer cards for the Day of Prayer for Peace and Reconciliation feature a mosaic depiction of the Immaculate Conception from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

DAY OF PRAYER FOR PEACE AND RECONCILIATION
Solemnity of the Assumption • Aug. 15, 2017

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
our life, our sweetness and our hope!
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us
and after this our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.

Repeat three times:

We fly to your protection, O holy Mother of God;
despise not our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.

Mary Immaculate, Queen of Peace,
pray for us and our country!

1 day 17 hours

IMAGE: CNS photo/Erik De Castro, Reuters

By Tony C. Diaz

HAGATNA, Guam (CNS) — The Catholic Church on Guam is urging its members and all people on the island to be prayerful and stay centered in Christ amid threats of missile attacks by North Korea.

Coadjutor Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes of Agana asked all priests to promote prayers of peace at all Masses Aug. 13 as tensions continue, following threats by North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un to attack this American territory in the Marianas Islands.

“In your Masses this Sunday, especially in the prayer of the faithful, please offer prayers for peace between our nations, just resolution of differences, and prudence in both speech and action,” Archbishop Byrnes said in a message to all priests of the Archdiocese of Agana Aug. 11.

“Please also offer prayers for the men and women of our military, especially those whom we host on Guam, that they might find grace for diligence and courage as they execute their respective duties,” he said.

Guam has long had a high strategic military importance to the United States because of its location in the Marianas Islands and has been home to several U.S. military bases for many decades. B-52 bombers were regularly deployed from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and ’70s.

Residents of this predominantly Catholic island community first woke up to the alarming news of North Korea threats to Guam Aug. 9. The archdiocese issued a message to all Catholics and the community in general that same day urging everyone to “stay grounded in the peace of Christ.”

“Look to God during these difficult times when world peace is threatened and pray always,” the archdiocese said.

That message by Father Jeff San Nicolas, the coadjutor archbishop’s delegate general, cited the Gospel of John: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”

The archdiocese also echoed the message of Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo asking everyone to remain calm and trust that the security of the island is in good hands with local and national defense forces in place to address such threats.

In his Aug. 11 message, Archbishop Byrnes said, “Ever since being appointed the Coadjutor Archbishop of Agana, I have been both struck and encouraged by Isaiah 33:2-6. … It speaks to our current situation very well:

“O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble. At the tumultuous noise peoples flee; when you lift yourself up, nations are scattered, and your spoil is gathered as the caterpillar gathers; as locusts leap, it is leapt upon. The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness, and he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.”

“We have strong encouragement from the Lord Jesus, to trust that our Father is the source of our salvation both spiritually and practically,” the archbishop continued. “Jesus is still on the throne, and we can be confident that He will work out his will in every situation,” the archbishop also told the priests.”

He added, “We do not ‘put our trust in princes, in mortal man in whom there is no help’ (Psalm 146:3). The Lord himself is the source of our stability in any time.”

The archdiocese also encouraged people to join an Aug. 13 rosary rally and pray for peace during a celebration of the 100th year anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima in the capital of Hagatna.

The rally was organized by Catholic laypeople as part of a worldwide call for praying the rosary in the public square.

The Guam Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense planned to make a presentation on emergency preparedness related to the North Korea threat for clergy, Catholic school administrators and chancery staff Aug. 17.

The presentation had been scheduled even before the threat by North Korea but the archdiocese asked that it be held sooner because of current developments.

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

2 days 6 hours

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jim Bourg, Reuters

By Rhina Guidos

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In the aftermath of a chaos- and hate-filled weekend in Virginia, Catholic bishops and groups throughout the nation called for peace after three people died and several others were injured following clashes between pacifists, protesters and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 11 and 12.

A 32-year-old paralegal, Heather D. Heyer, was killed when a car plowed into a group in Charlottesville Aug. 12. Various news outlets have identified the driver as James Alex Fields, who allegedly told his mother he was attending a rally for President Donald Trump. Reports say the car allegedly driven by Fields plowed into a crowd during a white nationalist rally and a counter-rally the afternoon of Aug. 12.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said early Aug. 14 the “evil attack” meets the legal definition of domestic terrorism and suggested pending charges for Fields who was in custody and has been charged with second-degree murder, among other charges. He was being held without bail.

The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, was one of the first to call for peace following the violence in Charlottesville late Aug. 11, which only became worse the following day.

On the evening of Aug. 11, The Associated Press and other news outlets reported a rally of hundreds of men and women, identified as white nationalists, carrying lit torches on the campus of the University of Virginia. Counter-protesters also were present during the rally and clashes were reported. The following day, at least 20 were injured and the mayor of Charlottesville confirmed Heyer’s death later that afternoon via Twitter after the car allegedly driven by Fields rammed into the crowd of marchers. Two Virginia State Police troopers also died when a helicopter they were in crashed while trying to help with the violent events on the ground.

“In the last 24 hours, hatred and violence have been on display in the city of Charlottesville,” said Richmond Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo in a statement on the afternoon of Aug. 12. “I earnestly pray for peace.”

Charlottesville is in Bishop DiLorenzo’s diocese.

Virginia’s governor declared a state of emergency Aug. 12 when violence erupted during the “Unite the Right” white nationalist protest against the removal of a statue of a Confederate general, Gen. Robert E. Lee. But the trouble already had started the night before with the lit torches and chants of anti-Semitic slogans on the grounds of the University of Virginia.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called the events “abhorrent acts of hatred” in an Aug. 12 statement. He said they were an “attack on the unity of our nation.”

Other groups, including many faith groups, seeking to counter the white nationalist events showed up during both events. Authorities reported clashes at both instances.

“Only the light of Christ can quench the torches of hatred and violence. Let us pray for peace,” said Bishop DiLorenzo in his statement. “I pray that those men and women on both sides can talk and seek solutions to their differences respectfully.”

On Twitter, Jesuit Father James Martin denounced racism as a sin and said: “All Christians, all people of faith, should not only reject it, not only oppose it, but fight against it.”

Other bishops quickly followed in denouncing the violence.

“May this shocking incident and display of evil ignite a commitment among all people to end the racism, violence, bigotry and hatred that we have seen too often in our nation and throughout the world,” said Bishop Martin D. Holley of Memphis, Tennessee, in an Aug. 13 statement. “Let us pray for the repose of the souls of those who died tragically, including the officers, and for physical and emotional healing for all who were injured. May ours become a nation of peace, harmony and justice for one and all.”

Chicago’s Cardinal Blase J. Cupich said Aug. 12 via Twitter: “When it comes to racism, there is only one side: to stand against it.”

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia called racism the “poison of the soul,” and said in a statement that it was the United States’ “original sin” and one that “never fully healed.”

He added that, “blending it with the Nazi salute, the relic of a regime that murdered millions, compounds the obscenity.”

On Aug. 13, Cardinal DiNardo, along with Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued a statement saying: “We stand against the evil of racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazism. We stand with our sisters and brothers united in the sacrifice of Jesus, by which love’s victory over every form of evil is assured.”

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Follow Guidos on Twitter: @CNS_Rhina.

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

2 days 8 hours

On Friday, August 11th, thousands attended a Mass celebrated by Bishop Joseph Binzer at the Maria Stein Shrine. Look for more on this historic event in the September edition of The Catholic Telegraph.

Confessions were heard on the grounds of Maria Stein (CT Photo/Jeff Unroe)Confessions were heard on the grounds of Maria Stein (CT Photo/Jeff Unroe) Crowd gathering for Mass (CT Photo/Jeff Unroe)Crowd gathering for Mass (CT Photo/Jeff Unroe)  Ava Timmeman (8, from Fort Recovery), Kadyn Alter (10, from Celina), and Christine Merrill (12, from Fort Recovery). (CT Photo/Jeff Unroe)Children portraying the three Fatima children are: Ava Timmeman (8, from Fort Recovery), Kadyn Alter (10, from Celina), and Christine Merrill (12, from Fort Recovery). (CT Photo/Jeff Unroe) Procession of Our Lady (CT Photo/Jeff Unroe)Procession of Our Lady (CT Photo/Jeff Unroe) Umbrella's marked Communion Stations during Mass (CT Photo/Jeff Unroe)Umbrella’s marked Communion Stations during Mass (CT Photo/Jeff Unroe)

In September, Bishop Joseph Binzer will be leading a group of 130 to Fatima. You’re invited to send along prayer requests on this pilgrimage. For details click here

2 days 8 hours
Rescue workers assist people who were injured when a car drove through a group of counter-protesters during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters)

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following statement in response to the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia that has left three dead and at least 19 injured.

Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement follows:

“On behalf of the bishops of the United States, I join leaders from around the nation in condemning the violence and hatred that have now led to one death and multiple injuries in Charlottesville, Virginia. We offer our prayers for the family and loved ones of the person who was killed and for all those who have been injured. We join our voices to all those calling for calm.

The abhorrent acts of hatred on display in Charlottesville are an attack on the unity of our nation and therefore summon us all to fervent prayer and peaceful action. The bishops stand with all who are oppressed by evil ideology and entrust all who suffer to the prayers of St.Peter Claver as we approach his feast day. We also stand ready to work with all people of goodwill for an end to racial violence and for the building of peace in our communities.

Last year a Task Force of our Bishops Conference under Archbishop Wilton Gregory proposed prayers and resources to work for unity and harmony in our country and in our Church. I am encouraging the bishops to continue that work especially as the Feast of St. Peter Claver approaches.”

“As we learn more about the horrible events of yesterday, our prayer turns today, on the Lord’s Day, to the people of Charlottesville who offered a counter example to the hate marching in the streets. Let us unite ourselves in the spirit of hope offered by the clergy, people of faith, and all people of good will who peacefully defended their city and country.

We stand against the evil of racism, white supremacy and neo-nazism. We stand with our sisters and brothers united in the sacrifice of Jesus, by which love’s victory over every form of evil is assured. At Mass, let us offer a special prayer of gratitude for the brave souls who sought to protect us from the violent ideology displayed yesterday. Let us especially remember those who lost their lives. Let us join their witness and stand against every form of oppression.”

2 days 8 hours

IMAGE: CNS photo/Akhtar Soomro, EPA

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When passing through the storm of life’s difficult moments, Christians must latch on to Christ and not the false sense of security offered by psychics and soothsayers, Pope Francis said.

Speaking to pilgrims before reciting the Angelus Aug. 13, Pope Francis talked about the day’s Gospel passage, which recounts the story of Jesus walking on water. Jesus tells St. Peter to come to him, but his lack of faith when walking on the water toward Jesus during a storm leads to him slowly to start sinking in the sea.

Christians today, Pope Francis said, also can doubt the assurance of Christ’s presence when confronting life’s “turbulent and hostile waters.”

“When we do not cling to the word of the Lord, but consult horoscopes and fortunetellers to have more security, we begin to sink,” the pope said.

Although most Romans escape the city during the summer, hundreds of pilgrims still made their way to St. Peter’s Square, waving banners and flags while cheering loudly as the pope appeared in the window of the Apostolic Palace.

Pope Francis said the Sunday Gospel reading invites all Christians to reflect on their faith “both as individuals and as an ecclesial community, even the faith of all us here today in the square.”

St. Peter’s request that Jesus call him, his moment of doubt and his subsequent cry for Jesus to save him, the pope said, “resembles our desire to feel close to the Lord, but also the fear and anguish that accompanies the most difficult moments of our life and of our communities, marked by internal frailty and external difficulty.”

“Today’s Gospel reminds us that faith in the Lord and in his word doesn’t open a path where everything is easy and calm; it doesn’t take away life’s storms,” the pope said. “Faith gives us the security of a presence, Jesus’ presence, which pushes us to overcome existential storms, and the assurance of a hand that grabs us to help us face the difficulties, showing us the way even when it is dark.”

The image of the boat in troubled waters, he added, also can represent the church, which throughout history has faced storms that “threaten to overwhelm her.”

What saves the church is not “courage or the quality of its members,” but rather “faith in Christ and his word.”

“In short, faith is not an escape from life’s problems but sustains it along the journey and gives it meaning,” Pope Francis said.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

2 days 9 hours

IMAGE: CNS

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The archbishop officially promoting Blessed Oscar Romero’s cause for sainthood said he hopes the process will conclude within a year and Catholics around the world will honor St. Oscar Romero, martyr.

“Keeping alive the memory of Romero is a noble task, and my great hope is that Pope Francis will soon canonize him a saint,” Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the postulator of the Salvadoran archbishop’s cause, said in a homily Aug. 12 in London.

In an interview with Vatican Radio’s English program, Archbishop Paglia was more specific: “We could hope that in the next year perhaps it is possible” that the Congregation for Saints’ Causes will have completed its review of an alleged miracle attributed to Blessed Romero’s intervention and present its findings to the pope. Recognition of the miracle would clear the way for canonization.

Archbishop Paglia, in addition to promoting Blessed Romero’s sainthood cause, is president of the Pontifical Academy for Life and chancellor of Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

The biggest hurdle in the sainthood cause was obtaining recognition that Blessed Romero, who was shot while celebrating Mass, was a martyr, Archbishop Paglia said in London. Some church leaders, including some who worked in the Roman Curia, had insisted Blessed Romero was assassinated because of his political position.

But, Archbishop Paglia said, “The essence of his holiness was his following the Lord by giving himself completely for his people.”

Still, he told the congregation in London celebrating the 100th anniversary of Blessed Romero’s birth, “Romero was not a Superman. He was afraid of dying, and he confessed that to his friends on a number of occasions. But he loved Jesus and his flock more than he loved life. This is the meaning of martyrdom.”

“Love for Jesus and the poor is greater than love for oneself: This is the power of Romero’s message,” Archbishop Paglia said. “A simple believer, if overwhelmed by love, becomes strong, unbeatable.”

– – –

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2 days 10 hours

Father Leo Patalinghug, star of EWTN’s “Grace Before Meals,” prepares penne pasta and vodka sauce for hundreds of Mercer County Fair-goers in Celina Sunday evening. It was Father Leo’s first county fair appearance. He is famous for having beaten renowned chef Bobby Flay. Mercer county clergy and selected audience members got to sample Father Leo’s dish and the audience paid close attention to his combination of cooking advice and Christian theology. (There will be more photos later this week and in the September edition of The Catholic Telegraph.)

2 days 13 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN, CatholicCulture.org

From: The World Seen From Rome
Posted

“At the base of 19th century humanism is confidence in the divine dimension of the human spirit and its theological substratum that, according to Judaism, is present in every human spirit,” explained Rabbi Levi on the occasion of his conference last August 8, at the “Tonalestate” Meeting (August 7-10, 2017), which takes place every year in the Italian Alps, at Ponte di Legno and Col du Tonale, between Brescia and Trente.

A meeting that witnessed the participation of Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue; Dalil Boubakeur, Rector of the Paris Mosque, whose interventions L’Osservatore Romano published in Italian, and Jean Tonglet of ATD-Quart Monde.

Here is our translation of extracts of the intervention of Joseph Levi, former Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community of Florence, and entitled “The Dialogue between God and Abraham: Model for a Pact of Growth and Confidence between God and Humanity,” which was published by L’Osservatore Romano in Italian on August 11, 2017.  

At the Base of Jewish Humanism

In one of his last publications, Levi-Strauss, prophet of the universal structure of revelations and of particular cultural and anthropological structures, confesses that he became even nor skeptical about its structural universalism after having seen the use made of his theories to legitimize the strangest particularisms to his vision however universalist. How could Abraham, and how can we make universal morality and particular morality correspond? And what measures and what philosophic, religious and scientific means do we have at our disposition to be able to have one and the other vision coexist and be legitimate? In the name of a universal morality and revelation, the West has eliminated whole particular populations and today, in different parts of the world, religious revelations justify crimes against the West and against humanity, including archaeological testimonies of ancient civilizations. What should be the role of reason and how can we make it be convincing? — a real and revealing voice capable of guiding the choices of the concrete application of the strongest religious revelations. In inter-religious meetings such as ours, are we up to developing a shared direction through which to serve as mediator or downright converse and address our relation with the divine?

Auerbach explains to us that all the tension created by the text that we hear as readers that accompany Abraham and Isaac in their desperate voyage shared between confidence in a God close to man, with whom He concluded a covenant, and the terrible episode of the trial, was constructed to enounce with greater rhetoric force  the merciful character of the God of Abraham and of the Bible, God who criticizes and rejects the human sacrifices effected at that time and in those regions as an acceptable cultural practice. The God of the Bible calls for absolute confidence and devotion but responds to this confidence by a mutual pact of confidence in man, Abraham, representing the whole of humanity. It will be God’s confidence in man that will make a universal morality of respect for all human life created by God grow and develop in him.

Applying the emotional dimension of universal reason, the divine character of man himself shines even more. This biblical message and this biblical anthropology are interpreted by the Midrash in a complicated relation of respect and envy between Adam and the Angels who cannot be impeded from bearing respect for man who contains the divine image in himself. And who, when they see him walk, the Midrash tells us, bow before him as if he were the divinity itself that presents itself.

Such an awareness of man’s divine dimension will then be at the base of Jewish humanism developed by post-Kantian Jewish thought. Man, his spirit and his potential structure contain in themselves this universal divine dimension capable of reasoning and of finding a universal morality and way of reasoning. The same myth of the divine image contained in created man will be at the base of successive developments of theology and of Christological anthropology. Found at the base of 19th century humanism is confidence in the divine dimension of the human spirit and of its theological substratum that, according to Judaism, is present in every human spirit and not only in the unique and symbolic spirit of Christ.

This profound confidence between God the Creator of man of the Hebrew Bible and humanity is also exemplified and enounced through another episode of Abraham’s life, the unexpected conversation with God regarding the future destruction of Sodom as punishment for the lack of humanity of its inhabitants, especially in their social relations and their hostile and cruel behaviour towards strangers. In a long conversation, Abraham and God discuss the terms of justice and of wisdom, divine and human, on the question of making the righteous die with the evildoers. In this debate, I wish to see the opening of a new dimension, a new Epistemology and Theology on the relation between divine morality and human morality, enormous and fundamental chapter on the reciprocity of  faith and of the pact between the God of the universe and man. Abraham, as representative of humanity, becomes the interlocutor of the divine, including in the domain of justice and of morality, leading the divinity itself to be confronted with man’s perception of justice, not only as form and image, but also and above all in its contents. Man, ally of the divine, also has the right to speak and reflect on morality, if not on religious morality, at least on civic morality. On the other hand, it is the divine itself that invites man to enter into dialogue on justice. The righteous man, faithful to God, such as Abraham, enjoys divine confidence to the point  that his reasoning and his mental faculties are also recognized as being in the measure to be confronted with divine reason on social, civic and, perhaps with due humility and submission, divine justice, a problem that the Bible presents to us through Job, another humble and faithful figure.

Hence, not only obedience, fidelity and submission but also confidence in the human spirit, created in the divine image as being able to reason in an autonomous manner and to offer its own arguments in a dialogue with the divine. An episode that should engage us and go beyond details, with an invitation to rewrite and describe the Epistemology and the Ontology of the conversation with man and the divine, including in regard to the many tragedies of humanity. From this neo-Midrashic reading the elements could be born  for a biblical neo-humanism, based on the immense confidence of the divinity in the reasoning of a faithful and devout person that, thanks to his awareness of the presence of the divine image in his own spirit, is recognized as a possible  interlocutor with God the Creator, Judge of the universe. Such mutual recognition and legitimation makes the pact and confidence between God and man grow and it can become a model of judgment on the divine revelations that can and must guide us in the difficult continual effort of perceiving and interpreting the divine will and justice. To make one’s own awareness grow means making one ‘s own suffering grow — a positive human suffering from which morality and reason are born.

9 hours 2 min

After his book “Family, Become What You Are,” which invited every family to follow the momentum of Amoris Laetitia, becoming ever more a cell of the Church, a shrine of Love, a school of the Gospel and of human values, in his latest book “Presence and Action of God Communion (published by Parole et Silence) Cardinal Marc Ouellet proposes this time further reflection on the intrinsic bond between communion and mission at the heart of the Church, explains a note of the publisher.

Under the vigorous impulsion of Pope Francis, a new springtime of the mission resurfaces in the Church 50 years after the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, under the sign of mercy, of love of the poor and of Synodal ecclesiology.

These strong accents give the impression of a great novelty and yet, however, for one who is able to read the signs of the times, they emerge in profound continuity with the previous pontificates of Paul VI, Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Beginning from a more profound rereading of the Council’s prophetic dimension, which appears especially in what God wishes to express of His mystery in this veritable Pentecost for the mission in the new millennium.

His prophetic discourse seems to pivot around the “mystery of communion,” which emanates from the testimony of Jesus Christ and that the Holy Spirit offers in participation to the Church in view of the salvation of the whole of humanity. This universal Trinitarian design is then deployed as a presence and a divine-human action that constitutes the fundamental theme running through all the conciliar texts and furnishing the key of their correct hermeneutics. Beyond ideological interpretations that propagate a prophetic role to human views, isn’t it necessary to revisit the prophetic role of the Council and allow oneself to be drawn by the Spirit in the testimony of God Communion that engages all the auditors of the Word and consequent thoughts and actions at the heart of the present history?

Pronounced in different circumstances according to the questions, the following commentaries of fundamental documents of the Council intend to help the reader to understand better the prophetic dimension of Francis’ Pontificate in the light of Vatican Council II, which is a privileged expression of the Christian Tradition at our time.

Francis’ reforming daring concerns not only the functioning and administration of the Roman Curia but above all the promotion of episcopal collegiality, in a spirit of synodality and “healthy decentralization” (EG, 16). It is accompanied by incisive gestures and words that return constantly to the themes of mercy, concern for the poor, fraternity and dialogue, having great ecumenical impact.

Extract of the Book 

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Presence and Action of God Communion. At the Heart of Vatican Council II, Parole et Silence Publishing House, 2017, pp. 7-8.

The Challenge of the New Times: To Evangelize by Attraction

 Francis is the first to be on the go, pouncing on opportunities, cheerfully breaking habits. greeting warmly the greatest possible number during audiences, establishing dialogue with estranged or critical people, privileging the poor and the suffering, leading Bishops, priests and deacons to flee from all “spiritual worldliness,” cultivating unheard of and informal contacts with little ones without neglecting, however, the great of this world pressing at his door.

Francis began the reform of the Church, her missionary conversion, by a reform of the papacy. Who would have dared such a thing after the Beatification and Canonization of three Popes of the Council, and the great magisterium, amply recognized, of Benedict XVI? Who would dare such a thing other than the Holy Spirit who certainly wants to re-launch the great missionary adventure of the origins and of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council? (pp. 149-150).

9 hours 15 min

Pope Francis has sent his condolences August 16, 2017 to the loved ones of the victims of the floods and tragic mudslide early August 14 in Sierra Leone’s capital of Freetown.  More than 300 have been reported killed, but the number is expected to rise.

The Holy Father reminded the faithful after yesterday’s Angelus of the importance of trusting in Mary during times of trouble:

“I wish to entrust once again to Mary Queen of Peace, whom we contemplate today in the glory of Paradise, the anxieties and sorrows of the populations that in so many parts of the world suffer from natural disasters, from social tensions and from conflicts. May our celestial Mother obtain for all consolation and a future of serenity and concord!”

Below is the Vatican-provided text of his message, sent on behalf of the Pope from Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin to Archbishop Charles Edward Tamba of Freetown:

***

The Right Reverend Charles Edward Tamba
Archbishop of Freetown

Deeply saddened by the devastating consequences of the mudslide on the outskirts of Freetown, His Holiness Pope Francis assures those who have lost loved ones of his closeness at this difficult time. He prays for all who have died, and upon their grieving families and friends he invokes the divine blessings of strength and consolation. His Holiness likewise expresses his prayerful solidarity with the rescue workers and all involved in providing the much needed relief and support to the victims of this disaster.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State

[Original text: English] [Vatican-provided text]

 

12 hours 38 min

Last March, the bishops of El Salvador made their ad limina visit to the Vatican and spent nearly two hours meeting with Pope Francis. There is no date set yet for the canonization of El Salvador’s most famous martyr Blessed Óscar Romero, who served as archbishop of San Salvador. However, Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas of San Salvador told reporters after the meeting that the Pope had told the prelates that “it would be very good if the places associated with Romero — his relics, the place where he was killed and where he was born — would become places of pilgrimage.” It would seem that sainthood for the defender of the poor cannot be far off.

The archbishop was one among many martyrs who died during
El Salvador’s brutal civil war. International papal charity Aid to the Church in Need reports here on a research project that they are doing to “honor and document their supreme sacrifice.”

***

Research project honors the martyrs of El Salvador

By Mónica Zorita

“WHEN someone sacrificed his life for something, then it is worth asking why he did so.” That statement by Franciscan Father Tomás Ciaran O’Nuanain, an Irish missionary in El Salvador, goes to the heart of the mission of the newly-established Office of Lay Martyrs of the Church in El Salvador. Its task will be to pay tribute to those who were murdered during the country’s bloody civil war (1980-1992) and to recognize the victims as martyrs for the faith.

The smallest country in Latin America has an extensive catalogue of martyrs. Foremost is Blessed Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero, who was murdered in 1980 while saying Mass. At his beatification May 23, 2015, Pope Francis said the archbishop “paid particular attention to the poor and the marginalized. He knew how to lead, defend and protect his flock, remaining faithful to the Gospel in communion with the whole Church.”

During the conflict, when troops of the extreme right government fought leftist insurgents, all the warring parties committed war crimes. There was oppression and injustice across the board. For example, labor unions were banned and “it was dangerous to support farmers,” Father O’Nuanain told international papal charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

He continued: “the clergy was completely divided. It was very sad because many politicized the Gospel. A strong minority supported Bishop Romero and his fight for farmers’ rights. But another strong minority opposed this stance. Still others did not take a clear stance. But all of us who fought for the dignity of the poor were threatened and persecuted. I just did not want to be tortured before I died.”

The missionary is coordinating the research project, which is entitled “Witnesses of the Gospel.” So far, five books have already been published, with another nine in the works—each one documenting the story of martyrs in a different province of the country. “Looking back on and reappraising the past, we want to pay tribute to and honor the martyrs,” said the 73-year-old Franciscan.

The project has already compiled more than 800 testimonies from relatives or friends of those who were murdered. An example is the story of Noé Arsenio Portillo López, a 22-year-old catechist who was kidnapped, leaving Mass. He was tortured for three days. “His limbs were severed from his body one after the other, before he finally was decapitated;” thus is his fate recorded.

ACN has been helping to fund the project. Marco Mencaglia, who oversees ACN grants for Church projects in El Salvador, said that the goal is “reappraise history, far away from all resentment. We would like to promote a real peace. We stand with the Church of El Salvador in showing that the simple and silent act of bearing witness of by thousands of believers is far stronger than the terrible violence they suffered.”

***

Aid to the Church in Need is an international papal charity under the guidance of the Holy See, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries. www.churchinneed.org (USA);www.acnuk.org (UK); www.aidtochurch.org (AUS); www.acnireland.org (IRL); www.acn-aed-ca.org (CAN)

13 hours 55 min

Pope Francis has sent his condolences to the loved ones of the victims of the floods and tragic mudslide in Sierra Leone’s capital of Freetown, which claimed the lives of more than 200 people. Below is the Vatican-provided text of his message:

***

The Right Reverend Charles Edward Tamba
Archbishop of Freetown

Deeply saddened by the devastating consequences of the mudslide on the outskirts of Freetown, His Holiness Pope Francis assures those who have lost loved ones of his closeness at this difficult time. He prays for all who have died, and upon their grieving families and friends he invokes the divine blessings of strength and consolation. His Holiness likewise expresses his prayerful solidarity with the rescue workers and all involved in providing the much needed relief and support to the victims of this disaster.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State

[Original text: English] [Vatican-provided text]
14 hours 9 min

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) will host a workshop November 2-4, 2017 to discuss the relationship between climate change, pollution and people.  The event will take place at The Academy’s headquarters are in the Casina Pio IV, in Vatican City.

According to the Academy website: “We are assembling a meeting of global thought leaders in all these areas, with emphasis on human health to consider the latest evidence and make recommendations to be submitted directly to Pope Francis and other world leaders for further actions. Experts spanning medicine, public health, air pollution, marine pollution, climate change, food and water security, ecology, species extinction, renewable energy, and policy should be included. The first two days will be devoted to a detailed assessment of the health of people and the ecosystem. We will document and diagnose the health impacts of fossil fuel combustion and the resulting climate change. The final day of the meeting will be devoted to seeking solutions and will end with a call for actions by policy makers and political leaders.”

The November session will build on the findings from a similar meeting in 2015, stated in the document Climate Change and the Common Good.  That meeting reached the following conclusion:

“This century is on course to witness unprecedented environmental changes. In particular, the projected climate changes or, more appropriately, climate disruptions, when coupled with ongoing massive species extinctions and the destruction of ecosystems, will doubtless leave their indelible marks on both humanity and nature. As early as 2100, there will be a non-negligible probability of irreversible and catastrophic climate impacts that may last over thousands of years, raising the existential question of whether civilization as we know it can be extended beyond this century. Only a radical change in our attitude towards Creation and towards our fellow humans, complemented by transformative technological innovations, could reverse the dangerous trends that have already been set into motion inadvertently.”

The meeting will discuss social justice and ethical issues as urged by Pope Francis in the encyclical Laudato si’:

“We have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

19 hours 57 min

 

Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, has encouraged reflecting upon reason, and “the best that reason has to offer.”

The Vatican Secretary of State expressed this in a telegram to Maria Paola Azzali, president of the Tonalestate Association, on the occasion of the International Congress on Inter-cultural Dialogue, at the summer university “Tonalestate” (August 7-10, 2017), which takes place every year in the Italian Alps, at Ponte di Legno and at Col du Tonale, between Brescia and Trente.

It was a meeting in which Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; Joseph Levi, former chief rabbi of Florence; Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Paris Mosque participated and whose interventions L’Osservatore Romano published in Italian.

Here is a translation of Cardinal Parolin’s message.

Cardinal Parolin’s Telegram

Unable to be personally present at the Tonalestate cultural event, dedicated this year to a reflection on “reason,” I wish to express to you, Madam President, as well as to each of the participants my warmest greeting and wishes that this meeting be the occasion of a profitable exchange of experiences and opinion on the theme – that of reason – which has engaged spirits and hearts from the first moments when man began to reflect on himself and his destiny. Lines of philosophers and theologians tried to weigh the characteristics, the possibilities and the limits of reason, which distinguishes the human being from all other living creatures.

When gravely skewed visions on the possibilities and intrinsic limitations of reason prevailed, or through an excessive exaltation of the first or vice versa, ignoring its capacity to attain and know reality, these errors of culture, which were obscured, were poured on the entire society, producing grave imbalances and what some have described as the sleep of reason, with dramatic results.

A believing reflection, desires to value to the best what reason is able to offer, recognizing its high properties and at the same time recognizing that Revelation assigns to it a new datum to seek to know, opening it to receive and to probe a form of knowing that doesn’t contradict or deny it, but that exceeds it.

It is my heartfelt hope that your meeting will be able to make a fruitful contribution in order to clarify the importance of having a conception of reason corresponding, as much as possible, to its veritable potentialities and with these sentiments, I address my benevolent thoughts to the organizers, to the interveners and to all the persons present, invoking upon each lofty divine blessings. 

 

20 hours 51 min

Five new members from four nationalities (Japan, Argentina, Spain, Italy), three laypeople and two clerics, were appointed by Pope Francis to the Governing Council of the Pontifical Academy for Life on Saturday, 5 August 2017. They are:

Prof. Etsuko Akiba, professor of law at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Toyama (Japan).

Dr. Mónica López Barahona, General Academic Director of the Biosciences Studies Centre, president of the Spanish Delegation of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation and director of the Foundation’s Jérôme Lejeune Chair of Bioethics, Madrid (Spain).

Prof. Adriano Pessina, professor of moral philosophy and director of the Athenaeum Centre for Bioethics of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan (Italy).

Bishop Carlos Simón Vázquez, delegate for the Family and Life Section of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life. (Spain).

Bishop Alberto Germán Bochatey, auxiliary of La Plata, professor of bioethics and vice chancellor of the Catholic University of La Plata (Argentina)

The Pontifical Academy for Life adopted new statutes in January of this year, signed by Pope Francisco in December 2016, valid for five years. In June 2017, the Holy Father appointed 45 new ordinary members and 5 honorary members of the Pontifical Academy for Life.   In July 2017, The Governing Council of PAS appointed 89 Corresponding Members and 13 Young Researchers of the Academy.

The Academy is headed by Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, former President of the Pontifical Council for the Family and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family at the Pontifical Lateran University.

20 hours 59 min

If Pope Francis and US President Donald Trump are ever going to make common cause regarding the “protection of Christian communities in the Middle East”—a topic the two men discussed in their May meeting—the time is now. Many thousands of Christian families, stranded in Kurdistan, long to return to their homes and communities on the Nineveh Plains, newly liberated from the grip of ISIS. However, Church-based agencies alone cannot muster the logistics and major funding that are needed for the reconstruction of the nine Christian towns and villages and the guarantee of the security of its residents. This is the time the two leaders can work together and accomplish a major feat: the survival of Christianity in Iraq. Aid to the Church in Need reports.

***

Iraqi Christians are racing against time

If they don’t soon reclaim their homes on the Nineveh Plains, Christianity in Iraq will be at grave risk

By Joop Koopman

BEFORE ISIS swept across the Nineveh Plains in the summer of 2014, driving more than 100,000 Christians into exile in Kurdistan, some 5,000 Syriac-Catholic families made their homes on ancient ancestral land in the town of Qaraqosh.

More than half of those families have school-age children, and international agencies have repaired a significant amount of the damage done to schools during the ISIS occupation. Schools are ready to welcome students to the new academic year. But the great challenge is that many of the families’ homes still await repair or rebuilding. To-date, only 600 out of the 5000 families ousted from Qaraqosh have been able to move back into their homes in Qaraqosh.

Syriac-Catholic Father Georges Jahola, who represents his Church on the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee (NRC) and oversees reconstruction work in Qaraqosh, put it bluntly: “if their homes are not ready for families to move back in by September and the start of the school year, many of the Christians might well decide to go elsewhere—this time leaving Iraq for good.”

The enormous challenge at-hand prompted ACN to establish the Committee, which is comprised of six members representing the three main Churches whose faithful have roots on the Nineveh Plains: the Syriac-Catholic Church, the Syriac-Orthodox Church, and the Chaldean Church joining forces in an historic first. Funds raised by the committee will be distributed according to the needs of each of the particular communities.

ACN Has funded the repair of close to 160 home to-date. Overall numbers remain dangerously low; for example, in the town of Bartella, just 24 Syriac-Orthodox families have returned to their former homes, while more than 600 families have not been able or willing to make the move back to that community yet. Bartella was home to 3400 families before the community was captured by ISIS, who proceeded to completely destroy 90 of the homes, while another 360 houses suffered severe fire damage and 1300 residences need various significant repairs.

Not that there isn’t optimism and passion on the part of many Christians. Nohe Ishaq Sliman, who just returned to his home in Bartella, said “this is our city, our life, our history. In Kurdistan, we were confronted with very tough economic conditions; food and rent there are very expensive and I can no longer afford that cost while I have a home that I own here. I urge all families from Bartella to come home again.” He continued: “I have drunk the water from the Tigris and worked here as a farmer. I built this house myself. How can I abandon it?”

Still, close to 13,000 homes across the Nineveh Plains remain to be repaired or rebuilt, not to mention the major work that needs to be done throughout the region to restore the water and electricity supply. The Nineveh Reconstruction Committee has carefully assessed damages across the board and estimates that the repair and rebuilding of private homes alone requires some $250M in funding.

In addition, there are close to 350 churches and Church properties—schools, convents, cemeteries—that require varying degrees of repair, rebuilding and refurbishing. In addition, there are 140 public properties—primarily schools but also several hospitals—that require significant investment to become fully functional again. Meanwhile, some 90,000 Christians are still living in make-shift conditions as IDPs in Kurdistan, a state of limbo that has lasted three years. ACN alone has spent more than $35M in humanitarian aid for the IDPs there since the summer of 2014, and obviously that flow of aid must somehow continue until the resettlement of the Nineveh Plains is complete.

Beyond the work of reconstruction on the Plains there are significant security concerns. ISIS may be largely ousted from Iraq, but Sunni-Shiite tension remains and may burst into renewed violence, putting Christians and other minorities in harm’s way once again. There is also the risk that Baghdad and Kurdistan may clash on the Nineveh Plains if the Kurdish Regional Government declares its dependence and secedes from Iraq.

With the end of summer in sight, schools on the Nineveh Plains beckon families and their children as does the prospect of new life marked by peace and stability. However, Western powers must make a major contribution to make the Christians’ hopes a reality.

“Christians and other religious minorities count on the Western governments—and the US in particular,” ACNUSA Chairman George Marlin wrote last week for the National Review Online (Aug. 2, 2017), “not only to help fund the reconstruction of the Nineveh Plains but also to use their powers and influence to get both Baghdad and Kurdistan to guarantee the security of all minorities and to ensure their equality of citizenship, including their property rights and freedom of worship.”

Failing that, a dark history will repeat itself. “The West must act now,” Marlin insisted, adding: “For if a significant number of Christians does not return to the Nineveh Plains very soon, and the power vacuum persists into 2018, the hopes for an enduring renaissance of Christianity in Iraq may be dashed forever.”

To-date ACN has spent approximately $620,000 on the reconstruction of Christian family homes in eight towns on the Nineveh plains, as well as the repair and refurnishing of a convent of Dominican Sisters in Qaraqosh and the reconstruction of St. George’s Church serving Chaldean faithful in the town of Teleskuf. Meanwhile, ACN is spending some $1M to pay rent for IDP families remaining in Erbil from July through September 2017, plus an additional $700,000 on food aid for the families, covering their needs through August 2017.

Joop Koopman is communications director for Aid to the Church in Need-USA, an international papal charity supporting persecuted and suffering Christians around the world.

***

Aid to the Church in Need is an international papal charity, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries. www.churchinneed.org (USA); www.acnuk.org (UK); www.aidtochurch.org(AUS); www.acnireland.org (IRL); www.acn-aed-ca.org (CAN)

 

21 hours 10 min

Mary, the ‘1st disciple,’ gave us the greatest gift, and she leads us on our pilgrimage our life and faith.

Francis stressed this during his Angelus address today at noon to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Today, Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Gospel presents to us the young woman of Nazareth that, having received the Angel’s announcement, left in haste to be close to Elizabeth, in the last months of her miraculous pregnancy.

The greatest gift that Mary brings to Elizabeth, and to the world, Francis exclaimed, is Jesus. Jesus took human flesh from the Virgin for His mission of salvation.

In the home of Elizabeth and Zachariah, where sadness reigned before because of the lack of children, the Pope said, “now there is the joy of a baby about to arrive: a baby that will become the great John the Baptist.”

“When Mary arrives, joy overflows and bursts from hearts, because Jesus’ invisible but real presence fills everything with meaning: life, the family, the salvation of the people . . . everything!”

This joy, the Pope said, is expressed with Mary’s Magnificat, her song of praise to God.

Francis reminded those present of the great things that God wrought with humble persons, stressing humility “is like an emptiness that gives place to God.” Through humble persons, “unknown to the world,” like Mary, Joseph, and their home in Nazareth, God has worked wonders, the Holy Father observed.

‘I would like to ask you – and also myself – but don’t answer in a loud voice: each one answer in his heart: “how is my humility?”

The Joy She Brings Us

Celebrating Mary Most Holy Assumed into Heaven, we would like Her, once again, to bring to us, to our families, to our communities, that immense gift, that unique grace, that we must always ask for first of all and above all other graces, which we also have at heart: the grace that is Jesus Christ!

By bringing Jesus, Our Lady brings to us also a new joy, full of meaning.

She brings to us a new capacity to go through painful and difficult moments with faith; She brings us the capacity of mercy, to forgive one another, to understand each other, to support one another.

Mary is model of virtue and faith.

The 1st Disciple, to Help Us Be Saints

“In contemplating Her today, assumed into Heaven, in the final fulfilment of Her earthly itinerary, we thank Her because she always goes before us in our pilgrimage of life and of faith,” said Francis, stressing: “She is the first disciple.” 

He then prayed she protect and support us, “so that we may have a strong, joyful and merciful faith,” and “that She help us to be saints, to meet with Her one day in Paradise.”

After the midday prayer, Pope Francis entrusted to Mary Queen of Peace, “the anxieties and sorrows of the populations that in so many parts of the world suffer from natural disasters, from social tensions and from conflicts.

“May our celestial Mother obtain for all consolation and a future of serenity and harmony!”

***

On Zenit’s web page:

Full Text: https://zenit.org/articles/angelus-on-the-feast-of-the-assumption-3/

 

1 day 14 hours

Below is a translation of Pope Francis’ address before and after the recitation of the Angelus prayer today at noon to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

* * *

Before the Angelus

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today, Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Gospel presents to us the young woman of Nazareth that, having received the Angel’s announcement, left in haste to be close to Elizabeth, in the last months of her miraculous pregnancy. Arriving at her home, Mary receives from her mouth the words that came to form the “Hail Mary” prayer: “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb” (Luke 1:42). In fact, the greatest gift that Mary brings to Elizabeth – and to the whole world – is Jesus, who now lives in her; and lives not only by faith and expectation, as in so many women of the Old Testament: Jesus took human flesh from the Virgin for His mission of salvation.

In Elizabeth’s home, and that of her husband Zachariah, where sadness reigned before because of the lack of children, now there is the joy of a baby about to arrive: a baby that will become the great John the Baptist, Precursor of the Messiah. And when Mary arrives, joy overflows and bursts from hearts, because Jesus’ invisible but real presence fills everything with meaning: life, the family, the salvation of the people . . . everything! This full joy is expressed with Mary’s voice in the stupendous prayer that Luke’s Gospel has transmitted to us and that is called Magnificat, from the first Latin word. It is a song of praise to God who does great things through humble persons, unknown to the world, as Mary herself was and her husband Joseph, and as Nazareth, the place where they lived was also. The great things that God has wrought with humble persons, the great things the Lord does in the world with the humble, because humility is like an emptiness that gives place to God. The humble is powerful because he is humble, not because he is strong. And this is the grandeur of the humble and of humility. I would like to ask you – and also myself – but don’t answer in a loud voice: each one answer in his heart: “how is my humility doing?”

The Magnificat sings to the merciful and faithful God, Who fulfils His plan of salvation with the little ones and the poor, with those that have faith in Him, that trust His Word, as Mary did. See Elizabeth’s exclamation: “Blessed is she who believed” (Luke 1:45). In that home, Jesus’ coming through Mary not only created an atmosphere of joy and fraternal communion, but also an atmosphere of faith that leads to hope, to prayer to praise.

We would like all this to happen on our homes today. Celebrating Mary Most Holy Assumed into Heaven, we would like Her, once again, to bring to us, to our families, to our communities, that immense gift, that unique grace, that we must always ask for first of all and above all other graces, which we also have at heart: the grace that is Jesus Christ!

By bringing Jesus, Our Lady brings to us also a new joy, full of meaning. She brings to us a new capacity to go through painful and difficult moments with faith; She brings us the capacity of mercy, to forgive one another, to understand each other, to support one another.

Mary is model of virtue and faith. In contemplating Her today assumed into Heaven, in the final fulfilment of Her earthly itinerary, we thank Her because she always goes before us in our pilgrimage of life and of faith – She is the first disciple. And we ask Her to protect and support us, that we may have a strong, joyful and merciful faith; that She help us to be saints, to meet with Her one day in Paradise.

[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

After the Angelus

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I wish to entrust once again to Mary Queen of Peace, whom we contemplate today in the glory of Paradise, the anxieties and sorrows of the populations that in so many parts of the world suffer from natural disasters, from social tensions and from conflicts. May our celestial Mother obtain for all consolation and a future of serenity and concord!

I greet you all, Romans and pilgrims from various countries! In particular, I greet the young people of Mira (Venice) and the Don Bosco Association of Noci. And I also greet . . . I see Spanish and Polish flags. Happy feast!

I thank you for having come. I wish you a happy feast of Our Lady Assunta and, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!

[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

1 day 14 hours

The “Scholas Occurrentes” educational experience, launched under the auspices of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio in Buenos Aires and now promoted by Pope Francis, has just arrived in Mozambique, first African country where young people can experience the methods of “Scholas”, under the form of “Scholas Citizenship,” an event echoed by the Vatican’s media.

It will be at “Missao Mangunze” that, over a week, some 180 young people of different schools of Mangunze, Manjacaze, Chongoene and Xai Xai will gather to work together on the problems that worry them most: drug use, sexual relations, and school absenteeism.

They are accompanied by an international “Scholas” team and 30 local volunteers formed months previously with the “Scholas” methodolgy in Argentina.

The students presented their conclusions and proposals to the school and civil authorities, one being a representative of the government and the other the parish priest, Father Juan Gabriel Arias.

One of the problems addressed was the distance to arrive at school: 5 to 10 kilometers there and back. They hope that school transport will be established and also a better quality of teaching, of formation of teachers, the disappearance of discrimination on the latter’s part and equipment. They also lamented the “gender” violence.

They highlighted the problem of traffickers selling alcohol and drugs to minors in school surroundings, and questioned the authorities on respect for the law.

The teachers themselves welcomed the initiative, in the perspective of what Pope Francis says: if one wants to change the reality, one must begin by changing the education.

Today “Scholas Occurrentes” is an international organization of pontifical right, present in 190 countries, which boasts a network of more than 446,000 schools.

Its mission is to promote the integration of all pupils worldwide thanks to technological, sports, and artistic proposals envisioning an education to the culture of encounter.

The initiative was born at Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2001, when Jorge Mario Bergoglio was the Archbishop, under the name of “Neighbors’ Schools and “Sister Schools,” made up of pupils of public and private schools, of all religions, in order to educate young people to be committed to the common good.

It’s a non-profit international organization, promoted by Pope Francis to “re-establish the educational pact,” with the cooperation of actors of society in view of a “culture of encounter for peace thanks to education.”

1 day 20 hours

Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez said he didn’t post a message on Facebook on August 13, 2017 claiming that Pope Francis told him he would come to El Salvador for the possible canonization of Blessed Oscar Romero.

Card. Rosa Chavez was made El Salvador’s first cardinal by Pope Francis on June 28, 2017, at the age of 74. He serves as Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador. He was an assistant to Bl. Oscar Romero and remained his friend until the archbishop’s assassination March 24, 1980, at the age of 62

August 15, 2017 will be the centenary of the birth of Bl. Romero on August 15, 1917 in Ciudad Barrios (El Salvador). He was beatified on May 23, 2015 in San Savador.

Canonization requires the authentication of a miracle due to his intercession. A miracle is currently being examined in Rome, announced earlier this year by the postulator of his cause for Sainthood, Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, as reported in the Italian Catholic daily Avvenire.

This case involved the cure of a Salvadoran mother, Cecilia Maribel Flores de Rivas, who was in the seventh month of pregnancy, and who risked dying and losing the baby as a result of complications. Although doctors could not determine a medical explanation, she was cured after invoking the intercession of Bl. Oscar Romero.

2 days 5 hours

Last Saturday, August 12, 2017, Pope Francis appointed the new Apostolic Nuncio in Panama, Archbishop Mirosław Adamczyk, 55.  He is a native of Gdansk, Poland, a veteran diplomat and has served as nuncio since 2013 in Liberia, Gambia and Sierra Leone.

Archbishop Adamczyk succeeds Archbishop Andrés Carrascosa Coso, who was appointed Apostolic Nuncio in Ecuador, June 22, 2017.

World Youth Day will be held in Panama from January 22 to 27, 2019. According to custom, Pope Francis announced Panama’s selection at the end of the Closing Mass of the 31st WYD, in Cracow (Poland).  More than a million young pilgrims attended.

The main events in 2019 will take place in Cinta Costera Uno, the Panama City park on the Pacific Ocean.  The nuncio will be an important participant, working with the Bishops of Panama.

2 days 5 hours

We are to trust God, without doubting him, even if we are scared…

During his Sunday Angelus address, the Pope made this point to the faithful in a hot St. Peter’s Square, as he reflected on the Gospel episode in which Jesus walked on water, on the Lake of Galilee, and Peter, who wished to reach Him, risked drowning.

“At that moment, the certain word of Jesus, which was like a ‘tightrope’ to grip to face the hostile and turbulent water, wasn’t enough for Peter.”

“It’s what could happen to us,” Pope Francis noted, saying: “When we do not cling to the Lord’s word, and, instead consult horoscopes and fortune-tellers to have more security, we begin to go down [to sink].”

If this happens, it means our faith isn’t very strong, the Pope said, warning that horoscopes, ideologies, fashions, slogans are all “insecure” ‘boats,’ offering no certainty.

The Hand that Grips Us, How We Surpass the Storms

“Faith,” however, the Holy Father pointed out, “gives us the security of a Presence, the Presence of Jesus, who pushes us to surpass the existential storms, the certainty of a hand that grips us to help us face the difficulties, pointing out the way also when it’s dark.”

Today’s Gospel, he said, reminds us that faith in the Lord and in His word doesn’t open a way where everything is easy and tranquil and doesn’t take us from life’s storms, but gives us the way to get through them.

While recognizing that faith is not an easy way out of life’s problems, the Holy Father stressed that it “supports us on our journey and gives it meaning.”

Francis invited all pilgrims to turn to that which offers full certainty: faith in Jesus.

“How beautiful it is,” Francis observed, “to say this word to Jesus: ‘Truly you are the Son of God!’ Shall we all say it together? ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’”

As usual, Pope Francis concluded, telling those present to have a good Sunday and good lunch.

***

On Zenit’s Web page:

Full Text: https://zenit.org/articles/angelus-address-on-the-importance-of-solid-faith/

2 days 13 hours

Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam, presently Apostolic Nuncio in Thailand and Cambodia and Apostolic Delegate in Laos, as Apostolic Nuncio in Myanmar (Burma). Previously, he was Apostolic Delegate in Myanmar.

On March 10, 2017, Myanmar’s Parliament agreed to the establishment of full diplomatic relations with seven States, one of which was the Vatican.

The Vatican’s proposal was presented last February 8. Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Rangoon, the then Apostolic Delegate in Myanmar, Monsignor Paul Tsang In-Nam, and Father Murice Nyunt Wai, Secretary of the Episcopal Conference, were the protagonists of this “historic” agreement.

The Parliament of the Republic of Myanmar approved by “unanimity” the Vatican’s proposal to establish diplomatic relations. The news was broadcasted on the State Television on March 10, and published on March 11 by the “Mirror,” the government’s official press organ.

Monsignor Paul Tsang In-Nam himself presented the Vatican’s proposal on February 8, 2017 to the State Counsellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Under the leadership of Cardinal Charles Bo, premier Cardinal of Myanmar, Monsignor Tsang In-Nam met Aung San Suu Kyi officially in her residence of Nay Pyi Taw, the administrative capital. Father Maurice Nyunt Wai also attended the meeting.

Pope Francis received Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi twice in the Vatican, first on October 28, 2013 and then on May 4, 2017. The second meeting marked the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.

The October 28, 2013 audience highlighted the “great attunement” between the Holy Father and “this symbolic figure in the Asian world.” Since then, her party, the National League for Democracy, has come to power.

Icon of the rights of man and of democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, a prize she was only able to receive in 2012, and the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize in 2013.

The appointment of the “Nuncio” ratifies the establishment of full diplomatic relations and it seems to be a stage in the preparation of a trip to the country by Pope Francis, observers in Rome believe, but at this stage, the Holy See has neither confirmed nor denied a possible trip.

According to the English agency “Union of Catholic Asia News,” Pope Francis, invited by President Htin Kyaw – a democrat close to Aung San Suu Kyi, President since March 30, 2016 – and by the Bishops, for the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Catholicism in Burma (2014), might go to the country the last week of November and spend four nights there — at Naypyidaw and Rangoon.

It would be the first visit of a Pope to that country.

2 days 13 hours

The formation of catechists is not done “seated behind a desk: to be a catechist isn’t a role but a mission in the Church, ” said Monsignor Fisichella, as reported by the Italian edition of L’Osservatore Romano on August 11, 2017.

The President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization presided over a Mass in Manila on July 27, on the occasion of the official presentation of the new National Association of Catechists of the Philippines (Nac-Phil), on the theme: “Catechists: Builders of Communion and of Renewed Artisans.” The new Association is geared first of all to the formation of catechists in the Philippines, with collaborations such as that of De La Salle University.

“Our service often leads us above all to identifying ourselves with the role we play in society,” noted Monsignor Rino Fisichella, so that catechists can also have “the temptation to see in their role work that calls for a recompense.”

The Gift of Life

In his homily, the Italian Archbishop stressed: “the role” has schedules, but the mission” calls for the gift of one’s whole of life.”

“When God enters the life of individuals, there is no alternative in face of His revelation. When God speaks it’s an appeal to faith as appropriate and coherent response,” and the faith “is reception of the mission that He entrusts to each one of us,” added Archbishop Fisichella.

In regard to formation, the Archbishop regretted that “sometimes” it is believed that “catechesis is an ensemble of practices to implement.”

“To think that formation consists in staying seated at a desk with an open book in one’s hands to prepare an exam or a lesson, means that one hasn’t understood the value of education,” he stressed.

For Archbishop Fisichella, on the contrary, the formation of the catechist consists first of all in a “return to taking in one’s hands the Word of God to make it become food of our existence.” “A living word, made up of proclamation, of ever more profound understanding of the original meaning, of a transmission that from generation to generation finds the most coherent and proper forms for each age.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Archbishop Fisichella quoted Benedict XVI’s Post-Synodal Exhortation on the Word of God, Verbum Domini, to remind that “formation has enabled many communities to give life to ‘schools of the Gospel,’ to ‘lectio divina’ and to ‘faith workshops,’ and so many other experiences of which recent history is rich, and the production of ‘catechism.’”

In fact, he made reference to the forthcoming 25th anniversary of John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum for the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. As the Vatican II event recedes further and further chronologically in the course of the decades, the urgency of keeping its teaching alive grows exponentially” and today the Catechism, “translated into more than 70 languages,” “remains as a fruit of the Council.”

“Nothing is more dangerous “ than the rather widespread tendency to “justify the fact of being Christians independently of knowledge of the contents “ of the Catechism.

He quoted Paul VI’s Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, “which represents a point of no return to verify the strong bond that keeps united catechesis and the evangelizing mission of the Church.”

Hence the importance of the “New Evangelization,” to “overcome a present difficulty in the different Churches – perhaps also in the Philippines – which often limits catechesis to sole preparation for the Sacraments,” he explained.

This way of seeing it “shows its limitations today,” he specified. If catechesis aims at reception of the Sacraments, it is evident that once the course for the Sacraments of Christian Initiation is finished further formation runs the risk of drifting.”

Instead the Archbishop advocated a “permanent formation” for believers, to present “the understanding of the Christian mystery in view of a coherent existence with what one believes.” He appealed for a catechumenate that renders evident the choice of the faith for a permanent intelligence and witness of the Christian life.”

Communal Dimension

Finally, Archbishop Fisichella stressed the “communal” aspect of catechesis: even a supportive study to this dimension of communion: “its ecclesial character belongs by nature to catechesis” and therefore it is good that catechesis “enables one to live directly the communal experience.” More than that, “the subject of catechesis” is the “Christian community” in as much as it is an “act of transmission of the faith.”

In his sense also, “the work of evangelization becomes a service that the community perceives as its responsibility”: No catechist exercises this ministry privately, but always within and in the name of the Church,” stressed Archbishop Fisichella, according to the same source.

2 days 15 hours

“At this historic moment, in which we witness an increase of tensions and conflicts in different parts of the world,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, says, “peace is a clear and imperative priority for Pope Francis and for me personally.” 

Cardinal Parolin has confirmed he will visit Moscow from August 20-24, 2017, to meet with Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church.

In an interview with Italian publication Corriere della Sera, the Vatican Secretary of State noted he will talk with President Vladimir Putin primarily about the search for “dialogue,” “peace” and the “common good,”

The present situation in the Middle East and Syria and in Ukraine, and the conflicts in other parts of the world, the prelate stressed, “are subject to the constant attention and concern of the Holy See.”

Therefore, he explained, “the necessity and urgency to seek peace and the way to pursue it, will certainly be one of the main topics of the conversations.” 

“The Church,” Cardinal Parolin stressed, “does not cease to remind all lawmakers of the planet not to put national interests, or at least particular interests, ahead the common good – not the law of force but the force of law – for the development of the whole man and of all men, and the harmony and cooperation between nations. And the method is always dialogue.”

While saying not to exclude the possibility of Pope Francis visiting Russia in the near future, Cardinal Parolin stated: “The purpose of my visit goes beyond the preparation of a possible visit of the Holy Father to Russia.”

“However,” he said, “I hope that, with God’s help, I can offer a contribution in this direction.”

2 days 16 hours

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

*  * *

Before the Angelus:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today, the Gospel (Matthew 14:22-33) describes the episode of Jesus who, after having prayed all night on the shore of Lake Galilee, went towards His disciples’ boat, walking on the water. The boat was in the middle of the Lake, blocked by a strong adverse wind. When they saw Jesus walking on the water, the disciples thought he was a ghost and got scared. But He reassured them: “Take heart, it is I, have no fear!” (v. 27). Peter, with his usual intrepidity, said to Him: “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water”: and Jesus called him “Come!” (vv. 28-29). Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water towards Jesus; however, because of the wind, he was afraid and began to sink. Then he cried out: “Lord, save me!” and Jesus reached out His hand and caught him (vv. 30-31).

This story has a rich symbolism and it makes us reflect on our faith, be it as individuals, by it as ecclesial community, also the faith of all of us that are here today in the Square. Does the community, this ecclesial community, have faith? How is the faith of each one of us and the faith of our community? The boat is the life of each one of us and also the life of the Church. The adverse wind represents our difficulties and trials. Peter’s invocation: “Lord, bid me come to you!” and his cry: “Lord, save me!”, is so much like our desire to feel the Lord’s closeness, but also the fear and anguish that accompany the hardest moments of our life and of our communities, marked by internal fragility and external difficulties.

For Peter, at that moment, Jesus’ sure word wasn’t enough, which was like a tightrope that he could grip to face the hostile and turbulent water. It’s what can also happen to us. When one doesn’t grip the Lord’s word, <and>, to have greater security, one consults horoscopes and fortune-tellers, one begins to go down. It means that faith isn’t that strong. Today’s Gospel reminds us that faith in the Lord and in his word doesn’t open a way for us where everything is easy and tranquil; it doesn’t subtract us from life’s storms. Faith gives us the certainty of a Presence, the presence of Jesus that drives us to overcome the existential storms, the certainty of a hand that grips us to help us face the difficulties, pointing out the way to us also when it’s dark. In sum, faith isn’t an easy way out of life’s problems, but it supports us on the way and gives it meaning.

This episode is a stupendous image of the reality of the Church of all times: a boat that, along the crossing must also face adverse winds and storms, which threaten to sink it. What saves it is not the courage and quality of its men: the guarantee against shipwreck is faith in Christ and in His word. In this boat we are safe, despite our miseries and weaknesses, especially when we kneel and adore the Lord, like the disciples that, at the end, “prostrated themselves before Him, saying: “Truly you are the Son of God!” (v. 33). How beautiful it is to say this word to Jesus: “Truly you are the Son of God!” Shall we all say it together? “Truly you are the Son of God!”

May the Virgin Mary help us to remain firm in the faith to resist the storms of life, to stay in the boat of the Church, eschewing the temptation to go up on the spellbinding but insecure boats of ideologies, fashions and slogans.

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

After the Angelus

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I greet you all affectionately, Romans and pilgrims present: families, parishes, Associations and individual faithful. Today I also have the joy of greeting some groups of young people: the scouts of Treviso and Vicenza, the participants in the National Congress of Franciscan Youth. Moreover, I greet the Sisters of the Mary Most Holy Addolorata of Naples and the group of pilgrims who came on foot from the Via Francigena of Siena to Rome.

I wish you all a good Sunday and a good lunch. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Goodbye!

[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
2 days 16 hours

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Freetown, Sierra Leone, Aug 16, 2017 / 12:08 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- A massive mudslide in Sierra Leone's capital city has left hundreds dead and thousands homeless, with relief agencies hurrying to respond. 10 hours 43 min
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Los Angeles, Calif., Aug 16, 2017 / 07:02 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The 100th birthday of Blessed Oscar Romero was a time for Los Angelenos to reflect on the martyred Salvadoran bishop's virtues and how his vision can be made a reality today 15 hours 49 min
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Washington D.C., Aug 15, 2017 / 01:01 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Today, Catholics around the world mark the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, commemorating the end of her earthly life and assumption into Heaven. But while the feast day is a relatively new one, the history of the holiday – and the mystery behind it – has its roots in the earliest centuries of Christian belief.
1 day 21 hours
Washington D.C., Aug 14, 2017 / 11:59 am (EWTN News/CNA).- With deadly violence following a rally of white supremacists this past weekend in Charlottesville, Va., bishops throughout the nation denounced racism and racist ideologies. 2 days 10 hours
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2 days 14 hours
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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed his “closeness” to those who have loved ones in the tragic mudslide that struck Sierra Leone . A telegram signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin says the Holy Father is praying for all those who have died; and that he invokes “divine blessings of strength and consolation” on their grieving family and friends. The telegram assures rescue workers of Pope Francis’ solidarity and support. The full text of the telegram, addressed to Archbishop Charles Edward Tamba of Freetown, can be read below: Deeply saddened by the devastating consequences of the mudslide on the outskirts of Freetown, His Holiness Pope Francis assures those who have lost loved ones of his closeness at this difficult time.  He prays for all who have died, and upon their grieving families and friends he invokes the divine blessings of strength and consolation.  His Holiness likewise expresses his prayerful solidarity with the rescue workers and all involved in providing the much needed relief and support to the victims of this disaster. (from Vatican Radio)... 14 hours 51 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis reflected on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Angelus on Tuesday. The feast of the Assumption, also known as Ferragosto , is an important religious and civil holiday in Italy, and thousands of faithful were present in St Peter’s Square to celebrate with the Holy Father. In his remarks, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel reading, which relates the meeting of Mary with Elizabeth, and records Mary’s triumphant song of praise, the Magnificat . “The greatest gift that Mary brings to Elizabeth,” the Pope said, “is Jesus, who already lives within her – not in faith and hope, as in so many women in the Old Testament: Jesus has taken human flesh from the Virgin, for His mission of salvation.” Elizabeth, the Pope said, had already received the joy of pregnancy, after having felt for so long the sorrow of not having a baby. Now, at the arrival of Mary, her joy “overflows and bursts from her heart, because the invisible but real presence of Jesus fills her senses.” That joy is echoed by Mary in the Magnificat, a song of praise for God, who accomplished His plan of salvation through the poor and humble. God is able to do great things through the humble because, the Pope said, “ humility is like an emptiness that leaves room for God.” The humble person “is powerful because he is humble, not because he is strong.” He challenged the faithful to reflect on their own efforts to foster the virtue of humility. In the house of Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah, the Pope continued, “the coming of Jesus through Mary creates not only a climate of joy and fraternal communion, but also a climate of faith that leads to hope, to prayer, to praise.” And we too, Pope Francis continued, desire these things for our homes. “Celebrating Mary Most Holy, Assumed into Heaven,” he said, “we would like her, once more, to bring to us, to our families, to our communities, that immense Gift, that unique Grace that we must always seek first and above all other graces that we have at heart: the grace that is Jesus Christ!” Mary, the Pope said in conclusion, “is the model of virtue and of faith. In contemplating her today assumed into heaven, at the final completion of her earthly journey, we give thanks that she always goes before us in the pilgrimage of life and of faith.” And, he said, “we ask that she protect and sustain us; that we might have a strong, joyful, and merciful faith; that she might help us to be saints, to meet together with her, one day, in Paradise.” Following the Angelus, Pope Francis entrusted to Mary, as Queen of Peace , “the anxieties and sorrows of peoples who, in many parts of the world, are suffering on account of natural calamities, of social tensions or of conflicts.” He prayed, “May our heavenly Mother obtain consolation for all, and a future of serenity and of concord.” (from Vatican Radio) ... 1 day 13 hours
The Holy Father on Saturday raised the Holy See’s diplomatic relations with Myanmar to the rank of Apostolic Nunciature, appointing  Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam , until now the Apostolic delegate to Myanmar,  as the first Apostolic Nuncio   to the same country.  At the same time Archbishop Tschang  continues to  serve as   Apostolic Nuncio to Thailand and Cambodia and Apostolic Delegate to Laos. Saturday’s appointment follows the  joint announcement made on May 4, after Pope Francis met with Myanmar’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, to establish full formal diplomatic relations at the level of Apostolic Nunciature.  Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam was born on October 30th, 1949 in Seoul , South Korea, and was ordained to the priesthood on December 17, 1976 for the Diocese of Cheongju, South Korea. He concluded ecclesiastical studies obtaining a Doctorate in Theology, and entered Diplomatic Services of the Holy See on May 1st 1985. From 1985-2002, he served as a Diplomat of the Holy See, in the capacity of Secretary and Counsellor in the Apostolic Nunciatures of El Salvador, Ethiopia, Syria, France, Greece, and Belgium. After working at the Vatican Secretariat of State, he was named Titular Archbishop of Amanzia and Apostolic Nuncio to Bangladesh on October 19, 2002. Pope John Paul II con s ecrated him a bishop on 6th January, 2003. On August 27, 2007 he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Uganda. On August 4, 2012 he was made Apostolic Nuncio to Thailand and Cambodia and Apostolic Delegate to Myanmar and Laos. (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 13 hours

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From: Reliable world news and analysis from a Catholic perspective.
Posted

The Catholic bishops of Kenya have called for calm in the wake of disputed general elections.

17 hours 11 sec

Catholic leaders in Scotland are urging government officials to recognize a rising tide of “hate crimes” that target Catholics.

17 hours 57 min

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for an end to religious violence in a speech marking the 70th anniversary of India’s independence.

18 hours 1 min

Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem has condemned the decision of an Israeli court to uphold the sale of properties by his predecessor.

18 hours 6 min

A Catholic archbishop has praised Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni for preserving the fragile peace in the African country.

18 hours 16 min

A Nigerian cardinal has said that Amoris Laetitia upheld the Church’s traditional teaching that Catholics who are divorced and remarried cannot receive the Eucharist.

18 hours 26 min

The head of the Australian bishops’ commission on sexual abuse has said that she fears the Church has been only “partially cleansed and unreconstructed” despite months of intense public scrutiny.

18 hours 31 min

A New Jersey judge has affirmed the right of a Catholic school to deny admission to two girls whose parents had twice filed suit against the school’s administration.

18 hours 37 min

The superior general of the Society of Jesus said that the Jesuits are called to work for reconciliation “on three levels: with God, with human beings, with the environment.”

18 hours 45 min

The Australian Catholic bishops have indicated that they will not accept an infringement on the confessional seal.

18 hours 58 min

Pope Francis has offered his prayerful sympathy to the victims of deadly mud slides in Sierra Leone.

19 hours 2 min

In his Angelus audience on August 15, the feast of the Assumption, Pope Francis spoke on the humility of the Virgin Mary, remarking that “humility is like an emptiness that leaves room for God.”

19 hours 4 min

The editorial offices of Catholic World News will be closed on Tuesday, August 15, as we celebrate the feast of the Assumption.

1 day 22 hours

Austen Ivereigh, a contributor to the Crux news site, has apologized for a column in which he suggested that some Catholics who entered the Church as adults suffer from a “convert neurosis” that nourishes their conservative views.

2 days 10 hours

Archbishop Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France, has admitted to an “inadequate” response to reports of sexual abuse by a priest of his archdiocese. But the archbishop insists that he never covered up evidence of abuse.

2 days 11 hours

Two elderly bishops of China’s “underground” Catholic Church—both of whom had served years in prison camps—died this past weekend.

2 days 11 hours

A royal commission investigating child abuse in Australia is recommending that state laws be changed to require priests to report confessions of abuse.

2 days 12 hours

The Catholic bishops of Korea have made an appeal for peace, decrying “unreasonable provocations” by North Korea and urging prudence.

2 days 12 hours

About 30 agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided a Catholic Worker house in Des Moines, Iowa on August 11, in connection with an investigation into sabotage of an oil pipeline.

2 days 17 hours

On the overwhelmingly Catholic island of Guam, residents prayed for peace as they faced the threat of a missile attack by North Korea.

2 days 18 hours

Concluding a meeting in Dimane, Lebanon, the patriarchs of the Eastern churches in communion with Rome have issued a “prophetic appeal” warning agains a “plan of genocide” that threatens to eliminate the Christian presence in the Middle East.

2 days 18 hours

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued two separate statements denouncing the violence surrounding the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend.

2 days 18 hours