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Catholic News and Commentary

Survey: Americans overwhelmingly favor limits on abortion

EWTN Latest Catholic News - 38 min 18 sec ago
Washington D.C., Jan 18, 2018 / 11:12 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Most Americans, including those who identify as "pro-choice," support limiting abortion to the first trimester of pregnancy, at most, a new survey says.

Chile: The Pope Is “Truly Close to Victims” of Sexual Abuse,” Says Father Zollner

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 1 hour 14 min ago

“The Pope is a person who has a very open heart; he is truly close to the victims” of sexual abuse, said Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, Director of the Center for the Protection of Minors of the Pontifical Gregorian University  and member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

In an interview with “Vatican News, on January 17, 2018, he commented on Pope Francis’ meeting with victims if sexual abuse on the part of priests, at the Apostolic Nunciature of Santiago de Chile, which took place in private the previous day, speaking of the Pontiff’s sorrow for these crimes committed by members of the clergy.

“Attention to the victims is truly at the vanguard of Pope Francis’ priorities,” affirmed Father Zollner. “His empathy, his closeness and also his spiritual assistance” are “so important that even very important stages of healing can take place.”

“What the Pope said yesterday, since his arrival at Santiago, and what he did thereafter, after having met victims, shows to what point he is aware: aware also of the fact that the Church must do much more to help the victims. And the Pope gives example, which is very important,” said the Jesuit.

Commenting on a press release of the Holy See Press Office, specifying that Pope Francis “listened to” the “sufferings” of the victims, “he prayed and wept with them,” said Father Zollner, which is precisely “ what a representative of the Church, a Bishop or a school Director must do where these events occurred: simply listen,” said Father Zollner. “Listening” is “what the great majority of victims of abuse seek and exact,” affirmed the Jesuit.

However, it’s not about a “simple listening,” but of “true listening, with an open heart and spirit,” he continued.

“Chile is a country of America where, for different reasons, including political and within the Church, the attention given to these phenomena is very great,” he added. However, “it’s not the first time “that Pope Francis meets victims of sexual abuse, recalled the priest. In July 2014 he met in the Vatican with a group of victims of abuse by priests. “I was also present on that occasion . . . I saw with my own eyes how the Pope reacted to so much suffering and pain,” he said.

Father Zollner said that since the Pope’s meeting with victims in July 2014, “The two persons I’ve accompanied have made great progress in their life and have had a ‘healing,” if we can say that.” “And, in a certain way, it’s a journey of reconciliation with their life, with this profound wound, and also with the Church.”

In regard to public interest on the subject of sexual abuse committed by priests, Father Zollner believes “it’s a subject that won’t leave us.”

“However, the Catholic Church also shows a diversity of responses concerning the different local Churches” which must be up to “receiving the victims and to do everything possible to continue and develop the capacity to prevent abuses.”

“We can’t change the past, but in the present, we must work so that these events are not repeated,” concluded Father Zollner.

Chile: Pope Blesses a Marriage in Mid-Air

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 1 hour 22 min ago

A new surprising and initiative of Pope Francis took place on the plane, which took him from Santiago to Iquique, Chile, on January 18, 2018: the blessing of the marriage of a flight attendant and an air hostess in mid-air. The Sacrament of Marriage is valid, said the Holy See.

During the 2-hour flight of the Latam company, which traversed the 1,800 kilometers between the capital and the North of the country, as part of his 22nd International Apostolic Journey, the Holy Father blessed the marriage of a Chilean couple: Paula Podesta Ruiz, 39, and Carlos Ciuffando Elorriaga, 41, who had been married civilly for eight years. In 2010 an earthquake destroyed the church where they intended to exchange their vows.

According to the press on board the plane, the couple asked the Pope to bless their wedding rings. Francis asked them if they wished to be married religiously. “They were talking with the Pope. They told him they weren’t married in the Church. The Pope asked them if they wished to be married immediately. They said “yes,” said Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, who accompanies the Argentine Pontiff on all his trips.

The Vatican stated that the act of religious marriage of the couple — written on a simple A4 white paper — is valid: “Everything is official. There are witnesses, there is a document,” said the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke.

Paula Podesta Ruiz and Carlos Ciuffando Elorriaga have two children: Rafaella, 6, and Isabella, 3.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester



Jerusalem: Pope Calls for ‘True and Real’ Peace

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 1 hour 45 min ago

Pope Francis has pledged that with regard to the Middle East he “will not fail to continue to invoke God for the cause of peace, of a true and real peace.”

His commitment came in a letter released by the Vatican on January 18, 2018. The Holy Father sent the letter to Dr Ahmad Al-Tayyib, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, on the occasion of the International Conference in Support of Jerusalem, underway at Al-Azahr, in Egypt, from January 17 to January 18, 2018.

Here is a ZENIT translation of the Letter that the Holy Father Francis

To Distinguished Dr. Ahmad Al-Tayyib

Grand Imam of Al-Azhar


I received your letter of last December 16, regarding the Al-Azhar International Conference in Support of Jerusalem, which will take place on January 17. I thank you for your courteous invitation, and well as the kind expressions of esteem that you wished to express to me, and which I cordially return. As you revealed, on that day I will be committed in an Apostolic Journey, but from now on I assure you that I will not fail to continue to invoke God for the cause of peace, of a true and real peace. In particular, I raise heartfelt prayers so that leaders of Nations, and civil and religious Authorities everywhere, will commit themselves to avert new spirals of tension and to support every effort to have concord, justice and security prevail for the populations of that blessed Land, which I have so much at heart.

For its part, the Holy See will not cease to recall with urgency the necessity of the resumption of the dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians for a negotiated solution, geared to the peaceful coexistence of two States, within the borders agreed between them and internationally recognized, in full respect of the peculiar nature of Jerusalem, whose significance goes beyond any consideration of territorial questions. Only a special statute, also internationally guaranteed, will be able to preserve its identity, its unique vocation as a place of peace, to which the Sacred Places call, and its universal value, making possible a future of reconciliation and of hope for the entire region.

This is the sole aspiration of one who professes himself genuinely a believer and does not tire of imploring with prayer a future of fraternity for all. With these sentiments, I am pleased to renew to you my cordial greeting, invoking from the Most High every blessing for your person and for the high responsibility you cover.

From the Vatican, January 10, 2018


© Libreria Editrice Vatican

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]




Local March for Life Events

Catholic Telegraph - 2 hours 4 min ago
Members of Dayton Right to Life at the 2017 March for Life in Washington, D.C. Courtesy photo.

By Gail Finke

Monday is the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decision that legalized abortion on demand, up until the moment of birth, in the United States and has led to the slaughter of more than 55 million unborn children.

Thousands from Greater Cincinnati attend the annual March for Life each year, but for those who can’t, a variety of events take place here. They kicked off Wednesday with Dayton Right to Life’s Pre-March Prayer Rally with state Rep. Niraj Antani at the Dayton Federal Courthouse. Remaining events include:

Archdiocese of Cincinnati student bus sendoff at Good Shepherd, 7 p.m.
Father Jan Schmidt will preside at a prayer service before the buses from Cincinnati-area schools depart for the March for Life. This event is often crowded; families and friends are welcome.

March for Life Prayer Vigil at St. Thomas More, 7 p.m.
Pray for those on the March for Life, and for support of the dignity of human life in our country.


Day of prayer and penance in Covington
Live or work in the Diocese of Covington? All parish churches in the diocese will be open for prayer and for a Holy Hour today, and 10 chruchess (including the St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption) will hold a simultaneous Holy Hour at 7 p.m. For schedules and hours, visit the Diocese of Covington’s web page.

Mini March for Life at Planned Parenthood’s abortion business, noon
Greater Cincinnati Young Adults for Life sponsor this annual “mini march.” Assemble on the sidewalk in front of the business that takes the lives of 2,500-3,000 unborn children every year, pray in solidarity with the march in Washington, and witness to the world that the daily deaths at this building are not unnoticed.

Right to Life Mass at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center, noon
Pray in solidarity with the march in Washington at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Burlingtin (Ky.) March for Life, 5 p.m.
Live or work near Burlington, Ky.? The annual ecumenical March for Life begins at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church on Veterans Way begins at 5 pm; ends with a Holy Hour at IHM 7 p.m.


34th Annual Pro-Life Rosary Procession and Rally in Cincinnati, 11 a.m.
A variety of pro-life groups sponsor this annual rosary procession and rally, which begins at City Hall at 11 a.m., processes through the streets with a large statue of the Virgin Mary, and ends with a rally at Fountain Square.  The noon rally will be emceed by Ohio State Representative Tom Brinkman and will feature speeches given by Michelle Ashley (State Director of Susan B. Anthony List) and Sheri Lawson (Executive Director of Healthy Beginnings). Shuttle service between Fountain Square and City Hall will be available beginning at 10 a.m. for those who park at the square, and will operate after the event to take people who parked near City Hall from the square. Plesee note: The Cincinnati Pro-Life Committee requires that signs and banners be approved by a member prior to start of procession.

Celebration of Life at All Saints Church, noon
Adoration in the Church begins at noon, followed by rosary, Celebration of Life walk on Montgomery Road, and hot chocolate at the parish fire pit. Spend all three hours, or just a few minutes celebrating the dignity and gift of human life.


Prayer Vigil to End Abortion in Troy, 2 p.m.
Andrew and Wade Dexter will speak about prematurity and respect for life at this vigil to be held at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center.


Holy Hour for Life at Old St. Mary’s, 7 p.m.
Old St. Mary’s invites all to pray for the protection and sanctification of all human life on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  Confession will be available. Concludes with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 8 p.m.

Butler County Annual Pro-Life Prayer March in Hamilton
Meet at the Old Butler County Courthouse (High & Court Streets) and march seven times around this modern Jericho to call for an end to abortion on demand.


Is your pro-life event missing from this list? Email with the details and we will add it. For maps and links for these events, and details of many other area Catholic events, see our ongoing events page at

Pope Francis in Chile: Don't water down the joy of faith

EWTN News - Americas - 2 hours 13 min ago
Iquique, Chile, Jan 18, 2018 / 09:37 am (EWTN News/CNA).- At Mass in Iquique Thursday morning, Pope Francis drew attention to the care Mary shows at the Wedding at Cana, pointing to her as an example of how we can help others share in the joy and celebration found in the Gospel.

The Cincinnati Catholic Men’s Conference Is Back!

Catholic Telegraph - 2 hours 30 min ago

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and CMG Booking, the Catholic Speakers Organization, have teamed up to revive America’s first Catholic Men’s Conference ever produced.

Started in 1994, The Cincinnati Catholic Men’s Conference was the first Catholic Men’s conference every produced in the United States. Hundreds of other Catholic Men’s conferences have since spawned from it and have modeled their conferences off of what Cincinnati pioneered.

2011 was the last year the Cincinnati Catholic Men’s conference occurred. The conference will make a strong comeback on April 28, 2018 and will be held at the beautiful Taft Theatre downtown Cincinnati; 317 E 5th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.

Featured speakers are: 1) EWTN’s Fr. Mitch Pacwa, who also started his career in Cincinnati at St. Xavier High School, 2) Father Larry Richards, Founder of Reason For Hope Foundation and renowned author,  3) Coach Gerry Faust, former head football coach of Moeller High School and the University of Notre Dame, 4) Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, who will be the main celebrant for Mass and deliver the Homily.

Event details: Saturday, April 28th, 2018 from 9am to 4pm at the Taft Theatre downtown Cincinnati. Doors open at 8am. For more information visit


Love is in the air: Pope marries couple mid-flight during Chile visit

EWTN News - Vatican News - 2 hours 49 min ago
Aboard the papal plane, Jan 18, 2018 / 09:01 am (EWTN News/CNA).- In his five years in office, Pope Francis has gained a reputation for tossing protocol and embracing spontaneity. Today, he did it again with another papal first by marrying two flight attendants on board his flight from Santiago to Iquique.

Pope’s Homily During Mass in Iquique, Chile (Full Text)

Zenit (The World Seen From Rome) - 2 hours 50 min ago

Below is the Vatican-provided text of Pope Francis’ homily during the Mass over which he presided at Lobito Campus in the Chilean city of Iquique, Jan. 18, 2018, during his Apostolic Visit to Chile and Peru, Jan. 15-22:


“Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee” (Jn 2:11).

These are the final words of the Gospel we just heard, which describes Jesus’ first public appearance: at a party, no more or less. It could not be otherwise, since the Gospel is a constant invitation to joy. From the outset, the angel says to Mary: “Rejoice!” (Lk 1:28). Rejoice, he says to the shepherds; rejoice, he says to Elizabeth, an elderly and barren woman…; rejoice, Jesus says to the thief, for this day you will be with me in paradise (cf. Lk 23:43).

The Gospel message is a wellspring of joy: “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete” (Jn 15:11). A joy that is contagious, passing from generation to generation, a joy that we have inherited.

How much you know about this, dear brothers and sisters of northern Chile! How much you know about living your faith and your lives in a festive spirit! I have come as a pilgrim to join you in celebrating this beautiful way of living the faith. Your patronal feasts, your religious dances – which at times go on for a week – your music, your dress, all make this region a shrine of popular piety. Because the party does not remain inside the Church, but you turn the whole town into a party. You know how to celebrate by singing and dancing God’s “fatherhood, providence, constant and loving presence”, and this engenders “interior attitudes rarely observed to the same degree elsewhere: patience, the sign of the cross in daily life, detachment, openness to others, devotion”.[1]The words of the prophet Isaiah come to life: “The wilderness shall become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field will be deemed a forest” (Is 32:15). This land, surrounded by the driest desert of the world, manages to put on party clothes.

In this festive atmosphere, the Gospel shows us how Mary acts to make that joy continue. She is attentive to everything going on around her; like a good mother, she doesn’t sit still. So she notices, amid in the party and the shared joy, that something is about to happen that might “water it down”. She approaches her Son and tells him simply: “They have no wine” (Jn 2:3).

In the same way, Mary passes through our towns, our streets, our squares, our homes and our hospitals. Mary is the Virgin of la Tirana; the Virgin Ayquina in Calama; the Virgin of the Rocks in Arica. She notices all those problems that burden our hearts, then whispers into Jesus’ ear and says: Look, “they have no wine”.

Mary does not stand still. She goes up to the servants and says to them: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). Mary, a woman of few but very pointed words, also comes up to each of us and says simply: “Do whatever he tells you”. In this way, she elicits the first miracle of Jesus: to make his friends feel that they too are part of the miracle. Because Christ “came to this world not to perform a task by himself, but with all of us, so as to be the head of a great body, of which we are the living, free and active cells”.[2]

The miracle begins once the servants approach the jars with water for purification. So too, each of us can begin the miracle; what is more, each one of us is invited to be part of the miracle for others.

Brothers and sisters, Iquique is a land of dreams (for so its name means in the Aymara language). It is a land that has given shelter to men and women of different peoples and cultures who had to leave everything behind and set out. Setting out always with the hope of obtaining a better life, yet, as we know, always with their bags packed with fear and uncertainty about the future. Iquique is a region of immigrants, which reminds us of the greatness of men and women, entire families, who, in the face of adversity, refused to give up and set out in search of life. In search of life. They – especially those who had to leave their land for lack of life’s bare necessities – are an icon of the Holy Family, which had to cross deserts to keep on living.

This land is a land of dreams, but let us work to ensure that it also continues to be a land of hospitality. A festive hospitality, for we know very well that there is no Christian joy when doors are closed; there is no Christian joy when others are made to feel unwanted, when there is no room for them in our midst (cf. Lk 16:19-31).

Like Mary at Cana, let us make an effort to be more attentive in our squares and towns, to notice those whose lives have been “watered down”, who have lost – or have been robbed of – reasons for celebrating. And let us not be afraid to raise our voices and say: “They have no wine”. The cry of the people of God, the cry of the poor, is a kind of prayer; it opens our hearts and teaches us to be attentive. Let us be attentive, then, to all situations of injustice and to new forms of exploitation that risk making so many of our brothers and sisters miss the joy of the party. Let us be attentive to the lack of steady employment, which destroys lives and homes. Let us be attentive to those who profit from the irregular status of many immigrants who don’t know the language or who don’t have their papers “in order”. Let us be attentive to the lack of shelter, land and employment experienced by so many families. And, like Mary, let us say with faith: They have no wine.

Like the servants at the party, let us offer what have, little as it may seem. Like them, let us not be afraid to “lend a hand”. May our solidarity in the commitment for justice be part of the dance or song that we can offer to our Lord. Let us also make the most of the opportunity to learn and make our own the values, the wisdom and the faith that migrants bring with them. Without being closed to those “jars” so full of wisdom and history brought by those who continue to come to these lands. Let us not deprive ourselves of all the good that they have to contribute.

And let us allow Jesus to complete the miracle by turning our communities and our hearts into living signs of his presence, which is joyful and festive because we have experienced that God is with us, because we have learned to make room for him in our midst. A contagious joy and festivity that lead us to exclude one from the proclamation of this Good News.

May Mary, under her different titles in this blessed land of the north, continue to whisper in the ear of Jesus, her Son: “They have no wine”, and may her words continue to find a place in us: “Do whatever he tells you”.


[1] PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, 48.

[2] SAINT ALBERTO HURTADO, Meditación Semana Santa para jóvenes (1946).

[Original Text of homily-s prepared text: Spanish]

© Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Retreat for widowed, divorced set for Friday March 9th –Sunday March 11th, 2018

Catholic Telegraph - 3 hours 42 min ago

Beginning Experience, a peer ministry for people who have lost a spouse through divorce, death or separation, will hold its fall weekend retreat March 9-11 2018 at Bergamo Center, 4550 Shakertown Road, Dayton, OH. It’s a healing weekend, addressing such topics such as grief, anger, trust, forgiveness, and closure.

Rooted in the Christian tradition, this ecumenical ministry serves people of all faiths. The cost for the weekend is $175 with lodging, meals and retreat materials included.

For more information, visit, or call 513-684-1196

Pro-life bill would eliminate vast majority of legal abortions in Poland (CNA)

Catholic News - 5 hours 48 min ago
The bill would outlaw abortions on the basis of an unborn child’s “congenital disorder or deformity.”

13-year-old Coptic Christian recounts attack on church, death of mother (Aid to the Church in Need)

Catholic News - 5 hours 48 min ago
Nermeen Sadiq, 32, was among those killed during a December 29 attack on a Coptic Orthodox church in Helwan, a city near Cairo.

A Presbyterian pastor languishes in a Turkish prison (RNS)

Catholic News - 5 hours 48 min ago
The pastor, Andrew Brunson, is an American citizen. He has been detained since October 2016.

Milan archdiocese begins synod (CWN)

Catholic News - 5 hours 49 min ago

Six months after he was named head of Europe’s largest diocese, Archbishop Mario Delpini of Milan opened an archdiocesan synod on January 14.

Pro-life Canadians concerned by Trudeau's litmus test for abortion ideology

EWTN News - Americas - 6 hours 46 min ago
Ottawa, Canada, Jan 18, 2018 / 05:04 am (EWTN News/CNA).- A litmus test on abortion and recent comments from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have been slammed by Catholic and conservative critics, and raise new and troubling questions for pro-life Canadians about the state of religious freedom in their country.

Belgian bishops visit refugees (Servizio Informazione Religiosa)

Catholic News - 6 hours 48 min ago
“There are asylum seekers, refugees and migrants among us who are waiting to reach the UK,” said Bishop Guy Harpigny of Tournai. “We show our solidarity with them by seeking objective information on statistics, the causes of migration, on reception networks and on the legislation in force in the Belgian State.”

Catholics, Protestants exchange pulpits in Austrian diocese for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Servizio Informazione Religiosa)

Catholic News - 6 hours 48 min ago
The Diocese of Feldkirchen is located in south-central Austria. The Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism (1993) states that while a bishop may permit a non-Catholic Christian to serve as a reader during Mass, the homily is to be reserved to the priest or deacon (nos. 134-135).

Leading French bishop calls for acceptance of more refugees (Servizio Informazione Religiosa)

Catholic News - 6 hours 49 min ago
“Couldn’t [France] maybe take in more people and, above all, couldn’t it do it better?” asked Archbishop Georges Pontier, the president of the French Bishops’ Conference, which issued a new statement on migrants and refugees.

Ohio Senate Passes Bill on Remains of Aborted Children

Catholic Telegraph - 6 hours 49 min ago

By Gail Finke

Ohio’s Senate passed a bill that would require remains of aborted children to be buried or cremated at abortion businesses’ expense yesterday.

Sponsored by Sen. Joe Eucker, R-Miami Township, the law would require that abortionists ask mothers to choose from burial and cremation services they have arranged, or to choose a different option at her own expense.

The Bill is a response to a 2015 investigation by the Attorney General’s office into whether Planned Parenthood’s Cincinnati, Columbus, and Bedford Heights abortion businesses sold fetal remains, as several of the abortion chain’s affiliates were shown to have done in undercover video investigations. While the investigation found no evidence that body parts were ever sold, it found that the affiliates mixed the remains of the dead bodies with medical waste. While the AG’s office was not able to track what happened to the New Bedford waste, it found that the Cincinnati and Columbus waste was sent to be heated in an autoclave to kill bacteria, then taken to landfills.

Attorney General Mike DeWine described the process as “steam cooking,” and said it violated Ohios’ requirement that fetal remains are disposed of in a “humane manner.”

“Look, disposing of fetuses — first cooking fetuses, and then disposing of them in a landfill — is not humane,” he said at a press conference. “They’re going to be mixed in with yesterday’s garbage, and whatever else goes into a landfill… I don’t think the average Ohioan thought that fetuses were being disposed of in landfills. I don’t think the average Ohioan wants that, and we’re not seeking anything other than an injunction to stop them from doing this.”

DeWine’s plans to file an injunction against the business were thwarted by a suit filed by the abortion chain.

In a statement, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio called the bill unconstitutional and an attempt to shame women.

“When a woman has made the decision to have an abortion she should be able to access that care in her community without judgement or harassment,” said the organization’s executive director, Kellie Copeland. “The anti-abortion politicians behind this bill want to force a woman who has had an abortion to have to consider and decide upon burial or cremation services—it’s inappropriate and demeaning.”

Paula Westwood, executive director of Cincinnati Right to Life, said the requirements will add to the bottom lines of abortion company expenses. “Right now, there is no cost to them beyond waste disposal,” she said. If passed, the law will add paperwork costs for documenting how each body is handled, as well as costs for the burials or cremations.

But making abortion more expensive is not the reason Cincinnati Right to Life and other pro-life organizations support it, she said.
“Human beings are not trash,” Westwood said. “It’s a Corporal Act of Mercy to bury the dead, and at least in death, if not in life, these tiny bodies should be treated with respect.”

The bill passed 24-9, on party lines, and heads to the Ohio House.

Bishop says Congo 'gained heroes' during recent protests (CNA)

Catholic News - 7 hours 48 min ago
President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the Democratic Republic of the Congo beyond his constitutional term limit, reneged on an agreement to hold elections in 2017. Six priests were arrested, and 134 churches were surrounded, during a recent crackdown on pro-democracy protests.
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