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Fear leads to silence amid suffering of sick, needy, pope says

09/10/2018 - 2:38pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Favio Frustaci, EPA

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Fear often causes people to remain silent in the face of other’s suffering and marginalize the sick and those most in need, Pope Francis said.

Instead of being viewed as “an occasion to manifest care and solidarity,” the sick and the suffering are often seen as problem, the pope said Sept. 9 during his Sunday Angelus address.

After praying the Angelus prayer with an estimated 15,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square, the pope led them in applauding the beatification of Blessed Alphonse Marie Eppinger, a 19th-century nun who founded the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer.

“Let us give thanks to God for this courageous and wise woman who, while suffering in silence and prayer, gave witness to God’s love, especially to those who were sick in body and spirit,” the pope said.

In his main address, Pope Francis reflected on the Sunday Gospel reading from St. Mark, which recalled Jesus’ healing of a deaf man who had a speech impediment.

According to the Gospel, Jesus healed the man as he placed his “finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue” as he looked up to heaven and said, “Ephphatha” (“Be opened”).

Pope Francis explained that the Gospel story emphasizes a “two-fold healing” that not only involves restoring the “physical health of the body” but also the “healing of fear” that “drives us to marginalize the sick, to marginalize the suffering, the disabled.”

“There are many ways of marginalizing, also with pseudo-compassion or by removing the problem; one remains deaf and dumb in the face of the suffering of people marked by illness, anguish and difficulties,” he said.

Jesus’ command that the man’s ears and tongue “be opened” is also a calling for Christians to be open to “our suffering brothers and sisters in need of help” and to reject selfishness and the closure of one’s heart, the pope said.

The heart, he added, is what Jesus came to “liberate, to make us capable of living fully our relationship with God and with others.”

Jesus became human so that human beings, “rendered interiorly deaf and dumb by sin, can listen to the voice of God, the voice of love that speaks to the heart and thus learn to speak, in turn, the language of love, translating it into gestures of generosity and self-giving,” Pope Francis said.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 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

Clear response to abuse crisis is urgently needed, cardinal says

09/10/2018 - 2:08pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Responding quickly and appropriately to the problem of abuse must be a priority for the Catholic Church, said Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

“Recent events in the church have us all focused on the urgent need for a clear response on the part of the church for the sexual abuse of minors” and vulnerable adults, he told Vatican News Sept. 9.

“Bringing the voice of survivors to leadership of the church is crucial if people are going to have an understanding of how important it is for the church to respond quickly and correctly anytime a situation of abuse may arise,” he said.

The cardinal, who is the archbishop of Boston, spoke at the end of the papal commission’s plenary assembly in Rome Sept. 7-9. Afterward, Cardinal O’Malley remained in Rome for the meeting Sept. 10-12 of Pope Francis’ international Council of Cardinals.

Cardinal O’Malley told Vatican News that in cases of abuse “if the church is unable to respond wholeheartedly and make this a priority, all of our other activities of evangelization, works of mercy, education are all going to suffer. This must be the priority that we concentrate on right now.”

The pontifical commission, he explained, is an advisory body set up to make recommendations to the pope and to develop and offer guidelines, best practices and formation to church leaders throughout the world, including bishops’ conferences, religious orders and offices in the Roman Curia.

The commission is not an investigative body and does not deal with past abuses or current allegations, but its expert-members try, through education, leadership training and advocacy, to “change the future so that it will not be a repeat of the sad history” the church has experienced, he said.

“There are other dicasteries of the Holy See that have the responsibility for dealing with the cases and dealing with individual circumstances of abuse or negligence on the part of authority, and our commission cannot be held accountable for their activities,” he said.

Most allegations of clerical sexual abuse are handled through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Commission members, however, have spoken with officials at various Vatican offices, including the doctrinal congregation. For those meetings, Cardinal O’Malley said he always brings a survivor with him “to talk to them about the church’s mission of safeguarding, and I think those (moments) have been very successful.”

Safeguarding training for bishops, priests and religious around the world is meant to help them become “aware of the seriousness” of abuse and negligence, “to be equipped to be able to respond” and to be able “to put the safeguarding of children and the pastoral care of victims as their priority,” said the cardinal.

A critical part of building awareness, he said, has been making the voice of survivors be heard directly by leadership. Every year when new bishops attend a course in Rome, the commission also addresses the group.

Cardinal O’Malley said he usually invites former commission member, Marie Collins — a survivor of Irish clerical sex abuse — to speak to the new bishops “so that they can hear directly from someone who has experienced this horror in their own life, to explain to the them the consequences and repercussions for the individual, their family and the whole community.”

Even though Collins was unable to attend this year, she made “a wonderful video” that the cardinal shared with the approximately 200 bishops appointed in the past year, he said.

Year after year, the cardinal said, “so many bishops have come up to me and told me that Marie Collins’ testimony was the most important conference that they had heard during their entire week of conferences for the new bishops.” That is why, he said, it is so crucial for the voices of survivors to be heard by leaders if they are ever to understand the importance of responding quickly and appropriately.

The cardinal also mentioned a number of new initiatives and resources the commission has been working on, such as special auditing instruments for bishops’ conferences to measure the implementation and compliance of safeguarding policies as well as the idea of setting up “survivor advisory panels” in different countries to advise local bishops and the papal commission.

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Letter confirms Vatican officials knew of McCarrick allegations in 2000

09/07/2018 - 7:47pm

By Robert Duncan and Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A top official from the Vatican Secretariat of State acknowledged allegations made by a New York priest in 2000 concerning Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, according to a letter obtained by Catholic News Service.

Father Boniface Ramsey, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church Yorkville in New York City, told CNS Sept. 7 that he received the letter dated Oct. 11, 2006, from then-Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, the former Vatican substitute for general affairs, asking for information regarding a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark who studied at Immaculate Conception Seminary and was being vetted for a post at a Vatican office. He made the letter available to CNS.

Then-Archbishop Sandri wrote to Father Ramsey, “I ask with particular reference to the serious matters involving some of the students of the Immaculate Conception Seminary, which in November 2000 you were good enough to bring confidentially to the attention of the then Apostolic Nuncio in the United States, the late Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo.”

Father Ramsey had been on the faculty of the seminary from 1986 to 1996 and had sent a letter in 2000 to Archbishop Montalvo informing him of complaints he heard from seminarians studying at the seminary, located in South Orange, New Jersey.

In the letter, Father Ramsey told CNS, “I complained about McCarrick’s relationships with seminarians and the whole business with sleeping with seminarians and all of that; the whole business that everyone knows about,” Father Ramsey said.

Father Ramsey said he assumed the reason the letter from then-Archbishop Sandri, who is now a cardinal and prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, only mentioned “serious matters involving ” seminarians and not McCarrick’s behavior was because accusations against the former cardinal were “too sensitive.”

“My letter November 22, 2000, was about McCarrick and it wasn’t accusing seminarians of anything; it was accusing McCarrick.”

While Father Ramsey has said he never received a formal response to the letter he sent in 2000, he told CNS he was certain the letter had been received because of the note he got from then-Archbishop Sandri in 2006 acknowledging the allegations he had raised in 2000.

The 2006 letter not only confirms past remarks made by Father Ramsey, but also elements of a document written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who served as nuncio to the United States from 2011 to 2016.

In an 11-page statement, published Aug. 26, Archbishop Vigano accused church officials, including Pope Francis, of failing to act on accusations of sexual abuse, as well as abuse of conscience and power by now-Archbishop McCarrick.

Archbishop Vigano stated that the Vatican was informed as early as 2000 — when he was an official at the Secretariat of State — of allegations that Archbishop McCarrick “shared his bed with seminarians.” Archbishop Vigano said the Vatican heard the allegation from the U.S. nuncios at the time: Archbishop Montalvo, who served from 1998 to 2005 and Archbishop Pietro Sambi, who served from 2005 to 2011.

In late June, Cardinal McCarrick, the 88-year-old retired archbishop of Washington, said he would no longer exercise any public ministry “in obedience” to the Vatican after an allegation he abused a teenager 47 years ago in the Archdiocese of New York was found credible. The cardinal has said he is innocent.

Since then, several former seminarians have claimed that the cardinal would invite groups of them to a beach house and insist individual members of the group share a bed with him.


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Glenmary council releases letter concerning abuse

09/07/2018 - 3:19pm

Dear mission parishioners, supporters, and friends:

By now you have likely seen headlines concerning abuse in the church, mismanagement by bishops, and even accusations against the Holy Father. At Glenmary we are also following these stories with keen interests, and heavy hearts.

No child should ever suffer abuse, but when a credible allegation of abuse is made, the only acceptable response is swift, focused on justice, and sensitive to the accuser. Glenmary is committed to that response should one of our missioners be accused of abuse.

There are no present cases of abuse under investigation against any Glenmarian, but you should know that our history is not spotless. In our 80 years we have failed at times in keeping abusers out of our ranks, and for that we are forever sorry. We are committed to never repeating the sins of the past.

To make this commitment concrete, Glenmary has the following procedures in place to protect children.

Should Glenmary receive an allegation of abuse against a missioner, the president of Glenmary would immediately notify relevant civil authorities, and fully cooperate with their investigation. The accused missioner would be instructed to return to Glenmary’s Cincinnati headquarters immediately and would be removed from ministry while the allegation’s credibility was investigated.

Glenmary would hire an independent firm to investigate as well, though this may be suspended during criminal proceedings to better facilitate cooperation with civil authorities. An independent review board which consists, in part, of survivors of clergy sexual abuse, would help guide Glenmary through this process.

If allegations were to be substantiated, even if they were past the legal statute of limitations, the missioner would not be permitted to engage in public ministry any longer and would be placed under a safety plan designed to prevent future abuse.

Glenmary will never allow a credibly accused missioner to continue in public ministry.

Should abuse occur at the hands of a priest or brother, Glenmary offers continued independent counseling services to the victims. We recognize that abuse of any kind causes lifelong trauma, pain and damage for the abused and their families. Glenmary offers compassion, prayers and support to all survivors of abuse. These steps and others are part of Glenmary’s accreditation by Praesidium, a national youth protection organization.

Any financial obligations related to potential cases of abuse come from Glenmary’s self-generated income, and not from donor funds.

We write this to assure you, as best we can in troubled times, that the priests and brothers caring for your communities in the name of Glenmary are good, holy and mentally healthy men. Should we ever be given evidence to the contrary, we will act swiftly and decisively.

Anyone who believes he or she has been abused by a member of Glenmary Home Missioners is encouraged to contact both Glenmary President Father Chet Artysiewicz at 513-881-7448 and appropriate authorities. Glenmary promises full cooperation with the civil authorities in the reporting and investigation of such allegations.

Please keep Glenmarians, and the church at large, in your prayers and be assured of our prayers for you.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at 513-881-7448.

Glenmary Executive Council
Father Chet Artysiewicz, president
Father Neil Pezzulo, first vice president
Brother Larry Johnson, second vice president

Editor’s Note: The full press release can be seen HERE

New York latest to launch probe of church sex abuse records

09/06/2018 - 9:51pm

By Rhina Guidos

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The New York State Office of the Attorney General is the latest to announce that it is launching an investigation of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic Church clergy, and at least two of the state’s eight dioceses confirmed receiving subpoenas seeking access to its records.  

In a Sept. 6 press release, the agency said it was seeking “a civil investigation into how the dioceses and other church entities — which are nonprofit institutions — reviewed and potentially covered up allegations of extensive sexual abuse of minors.” Several news agencies, including The New York Times and The Associated Press, reported on Sept. 6 that subpoenas had been sent to New York’s eight dioceses: Albany, Buffalo, New York, Brooklyn, Ogdensburg, Rochester, Rockville Centre and Syracuse.  

The state’s Attorney General, Barbara D. Underwood, also announced a hotline the same day, specifically for those who may have been abused by clergy.  

Joseph Zwilling, director of communications for the Archdiocese of New York, said in a Sept. 6 email to Catholic News Service that “while we have just received a subpoena, it is not a surprise to us that the Attorney General would look to begin a civil investigation, and she will find the Archdiocese of New York, and the other seven dioceses in the state, ready and eager to work together with her in the investigation.”

Zwilling said that since 2002, the archdiocese has shared with the state’s previous district attorneys “all information they have sought concerning allegations of sexual abuse of minors and has established excellent working relationships with each of them.”

“Not only do we provide any information they seek, they also notify us as well when they learn of an allegation of abuse, so that, even if they cannot bring criminal charges, we might investigate and remove from ministry any cleric who has a credible and substantiated allegation of abuse,” he said.

The attorney general’s office said it had taken a cue from the state of Pennsylvania and its probe for records that resulted in an Aug. 14 grand jury report detailing claims of sexual abuse of minors by clergy going back 70 years. Though the report identified more than 1,000 sex abuse claims, in Pennsylvania, only two cases resulted in prosecutions because the statute of limitations had expired in the majority of cases.

“The Pennsylvania grand jury report shined a light on incredibly disturbing and depraved acts by Catholic clergy, assisted by a culture of secrecy and cover-ups in the dioceses. Victims in New York deserve to be heard as well — and we are going to do everything in our power to bring them the justice they deserve,” said New York’s Underwood.

She added that New York may face a similar scenario to Pennsylvania when it comes to prosecuting any cases since “many cases of abuse may not be prosecutable given New York’s statutes of limitations.”

The Diocese of Albany in a statement released Sept. 6 said it had contacted the Albany District Attorney’s office, inviting its officials “to review our records and look at how sexual abuse cases have been handled historically in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, to what extent survivors were heard and believed, what processes were followed, and what consequences resulted.” The letter was addressed to parishioners.

In an email to CNS, Albany’s Director of Communications Mary DeTurris Poust confirmed that the diocese had received a subpoena, adding that Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger said “we have to do what is right, even if it is not easy.”

“As Bishop Scharfenberger stated in his letter to the people of our diocese, when he made the decision to ask Albany District Attorney David Soares to review our records, we believe that only by shining a light on whatever might be hidden can we bring about true healing for survivors and for our church,” she said in the email.

In Buffalo, where the diocese has been dealing with fallout following a series of television news reports that said Bishop Richard J. Malone did not remove two priests from ministry after receiving abuse allegations, George Richert, director of communications, said the office would work with state officials.

“Our diocese will cooperate with any investigation initiated by the New York State Attorney General or District Attorney,” he said in an email to CNS.

Under New York law, only district attorneys can refer evidence to grand juries to investigate criminal complaints and recommend prosecution, as long as the potential charges meet the statute of limitations, according to the New York County Lawyers Association website.

A day before New York announced its probe, the Attorney General of Nebraska asked the state’s three dioceses for sex abuse records going back 40 years.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 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

Jimmy Carter joins volunteers, faith groups at Habitat for Humanity event

09/06/2018 - 6:30pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Carter Habitat for Humanity

By Catherine M. Odell

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CNS) — Although stormy skies often interrupted the hammering and sent volunteers ducking for tents, a Habitat for Humanity event in Indiana pulled together almost 2,000 volunteers, generous contributions, celebrities and faith groups.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, both in their 90s, were in Mishawaka helping to build 23 single-family houses during the last week of August. This year’s “Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project” was awarded to St. Joseph County in northern Indiana and the Carters’ special project was to build a porch for one of the houses.

“We want to help the houses look like they’re part of a real neighborhood,” said Habitat volunteer Paul Kil, who led a team from St. Therese Little Flower Church in South Bend that was landscaping and laying sod at the Carter site. Kil, who grew up in a family that built its own house, said his own carpentry skills are home-grown, but he’s impressed with the training Habitat offers volunteers who come with minimal or no carpentry skills.

At an Aug. 26 opening ceremony for the building project, Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, said he was proud that Notre Dame’s student Habitat chapter is one of the largest in the country.

The Carters were longtime friends of the late Holy Cross Father Theodore M. Hesburgh, who was Notre Dame’s president from 1952 to 1987, Father Jenkins said.

Late-night talk show host and Indianapolis native David Letterman introduced the Carters and joked that while his enthusiasm for Habitat is huge, his building skills are limited. “What I quickly learned is that the only thing I can do is hammer. … If there’s a Hammering Hall of Fame, get me in!”

Letterman has been a Habitat volunteer and patron since he watched the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He wondered what he could do and Habitat became his answer, he said.

Jimmy Carter told the crowd: “Habitat is not a sacrifice for us. We sometimes get too hot or too cold or work overtime. But, we always feel that we’ve gotten more out of this than we put in.”

He also said it brings hope, noting that he was pleased that he and Rosalynn have drawn international attention to the need for affordable housing since they began working with the organization in 1984.

“Because of Habitat for Humanity … every 50 seconds, a family somewhere in the world is getting a new or improved home,” the former U.S. president said.

Benito and Junixha Salazar were among the 23 families working on the homes going up in Mishawaka.

Like all Habitat “partner families,” the Salazars were helping to pay for their home through sweat equity — 250 hours of volunteer work. They are also attending Habitat-mandated partner family classes on budgeting and home maintenance. Habitat’s partner families get zero-interest home loans.

Habitat involvement has bolstered their faith, said the Salazars, who will live in their single-story house with 4-year-old Isabelle and 2-year-old Benito Jr.

Benito, a Catholic, became a forklift operator to make more money before Isabelle was born, but that meant leaving a job he loved at La Casa de Amistad, a community center serving immigrants in South Bend. Junixha is a social worker who attends a Seventh-day Adventist church.

Working full time and having small children made it tough to attend weekly classes and get the required service hours done, but recently he saw the payoff, Benito said. His new neighborhood was becoming a loving community even before its families moved in. “I help build my neighbor’s garage or put trim on the house. We don’t just work on our own houses. We work on everybody’s houses.”

This Habitat trademark of generosity and community has drawn many volunteers across St. Joseph County.

Jane Pitz, a former religious sister for 32 years, who worked in campus ministry at Notre Dame, could be enjoying a lazy retirement but instead she leads a Habitat Women Build project in St. Joseph County and fundraises for the organization.

A Jimmy Carter quote about the demands of the Gospel and Habitat’s mission echoes her own belief and that of many Habitat volunteers.

She said, Carter believes: “If you are a person of faith … you learn certain basic lessons about truth, justice, love and sharing that shape your life” and through Habitat for Humanity you find a way to “reach out to fellow humans who don’t have a decent place in which to live.”

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 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

Bishop Murry, ‘cancer-free,’ details action against abuse in Ohio diocese

09/06/2018 - 4:35pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob Roller

By Pete Sheehan

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (CNS) — On his first day back at work Sept. 4, Bishop George V. Murry of Youngstown spoke happily of his return, but he also addressed the somber subject of the sex abuse crisis now in the news.

In April, he was diagnosed with acute leukemia and admitted to the Cleveland Clinic, where he received aggressive chemotherapy for a month. After his discharge, he received follow-up treatment and spent time resting and recovering.

Speaking to reporters at St. Columba Cathedral Parish Hall, Bishop Murry said he was “100 percent cancer-free” following a bone marrow scan.

He thanked all those who supported him and provided his medical care.

“My energy level is almost back to normal. I look forward to returning to work and reconnecting with the people of the diocese — part time for a short time, then later, full time,” Bishop Murry said.

The next day, he presided at a weekly prayer service for diocesan staff at St. Columba Cathedral that began after his diagnosis, expressing gratitude to all for their prayers.

“Prayer is powerful. That is what got me through,” he said.

The bishop also thanked diocesan leaders and staff for keeping the diocese running smoothly.

While speaking to reporters at the Sept. 4 news conference, he addressed the recent controversies in the clergy sex abuse scandal and calling for greater openness in the church and promising more concrete action from the Youngstown Diocese.

Specifically, he said the diocese would release the names of diocesan priests removed from ministry because of a credible accusation of abuse, and he welcomed county prosecutors in the six-county diocesan area “to review our files on priests who have been credibly accused.”

Bishop Murry also noted the Youngstown Diocese’s track record in dealing compassionately with victims and acting decisively to remove priests from ministry who face credible accusations.

On the broader church level, he said files relating to Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick should be “opened to a group of competent laypeople, to determine how his predatory behavior went unreported.”

“At the same time mechanisms must be developed to report allegations against other bishops so that they can be adequately investigated,” he added.

In response to a question about the “testimony” from Archbishop Carlo Vigano, former papal nuncio to the United States, which accused Pope Francis of covering up allegations about Archbishop McCarrick, Bishop Murry said the letter seems to have a tone of “settling scores” and “nothing he said is substantiated.”

He also encouraged Pope Francis to more fully explain his position.

Bishop Murry, taking questions about his health, expressed gratitude for all who supported him and said the experience strengthened his faith.

He said he was overwhelmed by the many people “who sent any cards, letters, emails, books, prayer chains, homemade gifts and food,” citing one letter from an 18-year-old and another from a 10-year-old girl who sent a picture of herself and her cat and a $5 bill “to help with your medical expenses.”

He also quipped that he might start spending more time outside the office because the office seemed to run fine without him.

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Sheehan is the editor of The Catholic Exponent, diocesan newspaper of Youngstown.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 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

Mark your Calendar: Tolton from Slave Priest comes to the Archdiocese

09/06/2018 - 1:37pm

On Saturday, Nov 3, Tolton: From Slave to Priest is a new live theater production based on the life of Fr. Augustus Tolton, the first African American Catholic priest will be performed at the Cintas Center on the Xavier University Campus at 3:00 p.m.

On Sunday, November 4, the production moves to the University of Dayton in the Kennedy Union Ballroom at 3:00 p.m.

Both performances have free admission!

Augustine Tolton, was the first Roman Catholic priest in the United States publicly known to be black when he was ordained in 1886. (James Augustine Healy, ordained in 1854, and Patrick Francis Healy, ordained in 1864, were of mixed-race.) A former slave who was baptized and reared Catholic, Tolton studied formally in Rome.

He was ordained in Rome on Easter Sunday of 1886 at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. Assigned to the diocese of Alton (now the Diocese of Springfield), Tolton first ministered to his home parish in Quincy, Illinois. Later assigned to Chicago, Tolton led the development and construction of St. Monica’s Catholic Church as a black “national parish church”, completed in 1893 at 36th and Dearborn Streets on Chicago’s South Side.

For more information, contact Deacon Royce Winters at or (513) 421-3131 ext. 2640 or check out

When violence pierce a regular work day in Cincinnati

09/06/2018 - 1:10pm

In the Greater Cincinnati area, on Wednesday, September 5, severe storms caused damage throughout the area.

On a warm morning on Thursday, September 6 many workers traveled into the central business district of Cincinnati. Many stopping off at local coffee shops, going to their many offices talking about the night before. Others traveled to do business at banks, attorney offices, and various government agencies.

At 9:00 a.m., violence pierced this average morning in the heart of the city at Fifth-Third Bank on Fountain Square. Within moments, besides the typical noise of buses and cars, sirens were heard for about an hour rushing to the scene.

The latest is that four were killed, and several injured in the shooting.

Every afternoon at 12:10 p.m., Mass is said at St. Louis Church just blocks away from this violent event. On this day, Bishop Joseph Binzer said Mass. Today’s Gospel, Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” -LK 5:11

Bishop Binzer in his homily talked about the act of mercy coming to Mass. He also reiterated that “Trusting in Jesus, great things will happen.” As in the Gospel, Bishop Binzer echoed, “Be not afraid.” Prayers were said for the victims and the families of the victims.

A stark reminder that in the ordinary, anything can change. From the USCCB a Prayer for Mourners.

Lord God,
you are attentive to the voice of our pleading.
Let us find in your Son
comfort in our sadness,
certainty in our doubt,
and courage to live through this hour.
Make our faith strong
through Christ out Lord,

Bucket List for September

09/06/2018 - 9:33am

This month’s Bucket List takes you to two very different places for quiet fall hikes, and to the archdiocese’s only parish founded by Lithuanian immigrants:

  • stroll St. Joseph New Cemetery’ s 163 acres
  • spend time in contemplative Jesuit prayer in Milford 
  • worship at an Old North Dayton parish


Go: Visit St. Joseph New Cemetery

4500 Foley Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45238
(513) 251-3110

Recommended by: Archdiocese Archivist Sarah Ater, who suggests “visiting the tombs of Bishop Fenwick and Sarah Peter.” Known as “the Mother of the church in Cincinnati,” Peter helped bring five women’s religious congregations and the Passionists priests here – and founded the Cincinnati Art Academy. Bishop Fenwick is buried here, as are Archbishops Elder and Moeller. Music Hall benefactor, Catholic convert, and philanthropist Reuben Springer has the most spectacular of the many unique markers in the 163-acre cemetery in Cincinnati’s West Price Hill neighborhood.

Cemetery hours:
April 1-September 30:  8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
October 1-March 31: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Do: Make a silent retreat in Milford

Jesuit Spiritual Center at Milford
5361 S. Milford Rd.
Milford, OH 45150
(513) 248-3500

Recommended by: Dan Roche, the center’s former executive director: “Being still and getting in touch with God’s presence is especially important in our contemporary culture.” The 90-year-old center hosts Ignatian retreats, some of them silent, for adults and young people throughout the year. Spiritual direction is also available. The extensive grounds include gardens and woods, retreat houses, a cabin hermitage, and a renovated train depot that is now chapel in memory of Father Jim Willig. 

Grounds open daily 8:30-4:30 (please stop at office); Willig Memorial Chapel open 24 hours a day


Worship: Mass at Holy Cross Lithuanian Church

1924 Leo Street
Dayton, Ohio 45404
(937) 233-1503

Founded in 1914 by Lithuanian immigrants, the parish in Old North Dayton has its own Shrine of the Crosses, which echoes the famed Hill of the Crosses Shrine in Lithuania. The outdoor shrine includes three crosses in memory of crosses destroyed by Communists in Vilnius, and of the many Lithuanians killed for their faith. Inside, it has two side altars carved in the shape of wayside shrines. Its stained glass windows and altar art, made of faceted slab glass, interpret various Catholic subjects as wayside shrines; and its exterior brickwork, doors, and windows incorporate Lithuanian designs. A prelude before the processional hymn is sung in Lithuanian, and the first two readings and petitions are read in both Lithuanian and English. 

Mass at Holy Cross, part of the four-church Dayton Pastoral Region XII, is celebrated only on Sundays at 10:30 a.m.

Click link to download a pdf of The Catholic Telegraph Bucket List page: Sept CT final_P5

Archdiocese of Cincinnati Bucket List Map

Cardinal Bo slams Myanmar military for brutality in Kachin

09/05/2018 - 4:00pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Seng Mai, EPA


MANDALAY, Myanmar (CNS) — Myanmar’s military continues to persecute ethnic Kachin, the predominant Christian group in a conflict-torn part of the country, as well as Rohingya Muslims, said Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, Myanmar.

Speaking Sept. 1 at a peace forum in South Korea, Cardinal Bo said the suffering the Rohingya have endured has captured the world’s attention. He described their plight as an “appalling scar on the conscience of my country,” reported.

Yet, he continued, other targeted groups are being overlooked as ethnic fighting rages on in northern Myanmar, with thousands of ethnic minorities having been injured, killed and displaced.

“Villages bombed and burned, women raped, churches destroyed, villagers used as human minesweepers and human shields,” Cardinal Bo told peace experts at the Catholic University of Korea in Seoul.

The cardinal elaborated on military air strikes in Kachin in February and a major offensive in April that led to more than 7,000 people being displaced.

He said a series of “wars” were being waged in Myanmar against those who espouse religious freedom by forces preaching religious intolerance and hatred.

Cardinal Bo also lamented a several violent conflicts stemming from land ownership disputes and other concerns including human trafficking, environmental degradation, drug abuse by young people, poverty and a lack of protection of basic rights.

“These ‘wars’ continue even though Myanmar has moved over the past eight years through reforms and made a fragile transition from a military dictatorship to a fragile democracy,” he said.

Sporadic fighting has occurred in the Christian stronghold of Kachin state since the country then known as Burma broke free of its colonial shackles in 1948 by gaining independence from British rule. The situation deteriorated in 2011 when some 100,000 people were displaced. Most of the state’s 1.7 million Kachins are Christians, including 116,000 Catholics.

Cardinal Bo said the military retains supreme power, especially in its control of three key ministries, while the civilian government has little or no effective control over its activities.

This, combined with rising Buddhist nationalism and militancy, has created a dangerous cocktail of hatred and repression that denies ethnic and religious minorities the “peace and human dignity” they deserve, he said.

Cardinal Bo is known as a staunch campaigner for reconciliation in Myanmar, where peace negotiations with ethnic armed militias are ongoing and the Rohingya refugee crisis still is being settled.

Myanmar is facing harsh criticism over rights abuses in Rakhine state after a United Nations fact-finding mission found the military had committed gross human rights abuses in the state.

Cardinal Bo also talked about establishing permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula amid a recent series of high-profile meetings between the leaders of South Korea, North Korea, the United States and China.

He said the dream of nuclear disarmament and denuclearization on the peninsula was possible and urged continued dialogue.

However, he added, true peace cannot be realized when North Koreans still are being stripped of their human rights and basic freedoms.

The U.N. has described leader Kim Jong Un’s repressive policies as crimes against humanity. In North Korea, more than 100,000 people remain incarcerated in prison camps, subjected to the most severe forms of torture, slave labor and abuse, in an environment where religious freedom is completely lacking.

“Peace is born from the concept of human dignity,” Cardinal Bo said.

“Every human being, including those who hate us, is made in God’s likeness. Hatred is taught through narratives of hatred. We can also teach every human soul to love,” he added.

He said that while the respective situations in Myanmar and Korea are not exactly analogous, the principle objectives are similar.

The goal in both regions is “to build a lasting, genuine peace,” he said, adding, “human dignity must be defended and injustice and impunity confronted.”

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Editors: The original story can be found at

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Lucky there’s a ‘Catholic Guy’: Radio host taps into male zeitgeist

09/05/2018 - 3:45pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit

By Jonathan Liedl

MINNEAPOLIS (CNS) — Lino Rulli doesn’t have any children of his own. Married two years ago, the 46-year-old and his wife, Jill, are hoping that changes soon.

But the Minnesota native and Catholic media personality is already the pater familias of his own unique brood: a devoted community of listeners to “The Catholic Guy,” a weekday afternoon drive program on Sirius XM Radio’s Catholic Channel, which Rulli has hosted since it started in 2006.

About 200 members of this tight-knit crew came to the Twin Cities Aug. 17-18 for “Catholic Guy Con,” which sold out in 24 hours. The main event consisted of a recorded show and presentations from Rulli and his co-hosts, preceded the night before by a meet-up at a downtown Minneapolis brewpub. Mass celebrated by co-host Father Jim Chern, dinner catered by a St. Paul Italian eatery, and a visit to Rulli’s high school alma mater, Hill-Murray in Maplewood, were other features.

“My biggest takeaway from this experience is just a feeling of gratitude,” said Rulli, who admitted he had no idea the event would be such a success when it was being planned. “I’ve found myself thanking God over and over again for this career, and for our audience, and how lucky I am to be able to be in people’s lives.”

While the event was the first official Catholic Guy Con, for many fans it was not the first time they had gathered with each other and Rulli, who hosts several pilgrimages for Catholic Guy devotees each year. One Catholic Guy Con attendee had been on five.

But for listeners like Chuck Fanelli, who went to the Holy Land with Rulli in 2017, Catholic Guy Con was something special, a unique opportunity to be together with all four current members of the show and hundreds of other Catholic Guy fans.

“I said there’s no way I’m missing this,” recalled the 33-year-old New Jersey native, who has listened to every episode of “The Catholic Guy” since he first came across the program two years ago — and still came even after he found out his wife was due to deliver their third child only days after the fan fest.

“(The Catholic Guy community) energizes me, renews my faith, and really helps me get back to being a better husband and father,” said Fanelli, who made it home in time for the birth of his son, Michael Paul. “We all feel like family. A big, weird family.”

For many Catholic Guy followers, the show provides the type of community they don’t find elsewhere. When they listen to “The Catholic Guy,” they’re plugged into a relatable community of Catholics, and are encouraged in their Catholic faith.

During the show recording at a Minneapolis comedy club, attendees wore shirts with Catholic Guy catch-phrases, tweeted from Twitter accounts named after on-air gags, and called on Rulli to play favorite sound bites from the show.

“Wow, I feel like I’m the leader of my own cult,” joked Tyler Veghte, the show’s quirky but beloved atheist producer, after attendees sang along by heart to the musical introduction of the popular “What’s on Tyler’s Mind?” segment.

But while Veghte and co-hosts Father Chern and Mark Hart have their own unique followings among fans, make no mistake about it: “The Catholic Guy” begins and ends with Rulli, the Catholic Guy himself.

The show is infused with his personality, from the sarcastic, self-deprecating sense of humor that targets his big nose and his co-hosts alike, to the soundtrack provided by the Foo Fighters, his favorite band.

The show’s approach to Catholicism is also Rulli’s own. He believes being Catholic shouldn’t be “compartmentalized,” and mixes faith freely on air with humor and discussions on everything from sports to what he’s watching on Netflix. It’s this playful and occasionally irreverent style that makes “The Catholic Guy” “your home for pure Catholic pleasure,” as its tagline states.

But the show isn’t all laughs. For Rulli, who has won three Emmy awards for his previous media work as a television host and producer, it’s also a craft he takes seriously. As his co-hosts noted at Catholic Guy Con, Rulli’s goal is first and foremost to make a great radio show, one that normal people will want to listen to.

Rulli acknowledged this might be especially important now, in the midst of the unfolding crisis of cover-ups of clerical sex abuse. He briefly addressed the controversy on-air recently, but also recognizes that his program has a different role to play than news analysis.

“I think people need a respite from the bad news,” he said. “So, without saying it explicitly, every day I go on the air and say — in as entertaining a way as possible — ‘Here’s why I’m Catholic. Here’s why I love it. In spite of it all, here’s what’s beautiful and true about the faith.'”

“The bottom line is I host a funny Catholic radio show,” Rulli told The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. “That’s what I get paid to do and people seem to enjoy it.”

Rulli began honing the skills from his days in theater at Hill-Murray, to the campus radio program he hosted at St. John’s University in Collegeville, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s in theology. Rulli also got his television start in the Twin Cities, working for WCCO and KMSP before launching “Generation Cross,” a Catholic TV show that combined fun and faith.

Though Rulli now resides in New York City, where he also serves as media advisor to Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, he says his Minnesota upbringing shapes the way he sees the world and the church. As he put it, “If it wasn’t for my time on TV here, there wouldn’t be ‘The Catholic Guy’ show anywhere.”

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Liedl writes for The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

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Don’t touch that dial: Catholic radio station seeks to own drive time

09/05/2018 - 11:05am
Father Rob Jack will host “Driving Home the Faith” from 4-6 p.m. on Sacred Heart Radio, beginning Sept. 4. The drive time show will feature local Catholic news, people, and issues. CT PHOTO/GAIL FINKE

By Gail Finke

Sacred Heart Catholic Radio wants to be your go-to station for drive time, beginning Sept. 4.

     As area workers and students settle into their fall routine after Labor Day weekend, Sacred Heart Radio will launch “Driving Home the Faith,” a 4-6 p.m. program hosted by Father Rob Jack. The second daily talk show to be produced by the Norwood-based station that reaches most of the archdiocese, all of the Diocese of Covington, and parts of southeast Indiana; it will complement the popular, 10-year-old “Son Rise Morning Show.”

     “A morning drive program is designed to stimulate you, to get your brain engaged,” said Bill Levitt, general manager of the station that has grown steadily in the 18 years since a group of investors bought WNOP 740, a long-time AM jazz station known for being broadcast from a barge on the Ohio River, and began playing syndicated Catholic programs 24 hours a day. 

     “Morning segments are a few minutes long, and the guests are the stars,” Levitt said. “But on the way home, you’ve been engaged all day. You want time to unwind. Father Rob will set the tone with a monologue, or a homily if you will. And the segments may be 10-15 minutes long. 

     “In one of the promos, they talk about it being like the Road to Emmaus – Father Rob and the guests bringing the word of
the Lord to us, so that by the time we get home to reunite with our families, our hearts are burning.”

       After producing seasonal specials and short daily prayer segments in its first years, Sacred Heart Radio launched its 6-9 a.m. morning show. Originally hosted by Cincinnati television anchor Brian Patrick, it’s now hosted by Anna Mitchell and Matt Swaim. In typical talk show fashion, sports commenter Paul Lachmann frequently chimes in with banter. 

     The station’s second daily offering was conventual Mass celebrated by Dominican friars and chanted by the dozen or so men spending their first year as novices at St. Gertrude Priory and Parish in Madeira, broadcast weekdays at noon when most Catholic stations run a syndicated Mass from EWTN. The St. Gertrude Mass, Levitt said, fulfills two of the station’s objectives: to share unique local happenings, and to highlight that the church is young and vital. 

     The new show seeks to lure listeners during one of radio’s hottest time slots. Like the morning show, “Driving Home the Faith” will include frequent traffic, sports, and weather updates, so that listeners don’t have to turn the channel for that vital information. And it will launch with a host familiar to Sacred Heart Radio listeners.

     “I’ve been involved with the station since before it was a station,” said Father Jack, whose Lenten talks are played every year and are among the station’s most frequently requested CDs. 

     “Radio is a way to reach people who aren’t coming to church or parish events – it goes to them. I’ve been doing that by making rosaries [he’s distributed almost 9,000] and recording talks [he’s distributed 85,000 recordings of the rosary, and 300,000 of talks]. But this is a way to do it for two hours every day.”

     Talking to a wide variety of people is also nothing new to the former seminary instructor. For the last 18 years he’s taught courses on a range of theological subjects to seminarians and laypeople, and delivered talks and missions at parishes around the archdiocese. “It’ll be a different type of teaching,” he said. “My students won’t be right in front of me, and I won’t have to evaluate them. But it’s still teaching. “

    Only two afternoon drive time radio talk programs are still produced locally. One is a sports program, and the other is an often-raunchy take on events. “Driving Home the Faith” will replace a syndicated program, “Kresta in the Afternoon.” Hosted by former Evangelical pastor Al Kresta, the talk show produced by Ave Maria Radio in Ann Arbor, Michigan, deals with cultural and political issues from a Catholic perspective. 

    The new program won’t be a Cincinnati version of the same show. “Kresta is a commenter,” Levitt explained. “Father Rob is a priest. Most Catholics don’t have daily access to a priest. 

     “And commentary on national issues is often negative,” he added. “This program will allow us to celebrate our local Catholic community. We’ll have the opportunity to showcase the great things the parishes, schools, and Catholic-owned businesses here are doing on a daily basis.”

     Father Jack said he’s planning the program around what he calls three concentric circles: news, the local church, and personal faith. 

     “The news of the day concerns the universal church,” he said. “Speaking with people from around the listening area – that’s the local church. 

     “We’ll  also talk about prayer and how to live your faith in your family. As a church, we have not done a good job of promoting the family as a place where God’s grace grows, and our culture has become one of isolation. But God is a communion of persons, and the union of faith and life is prayer. We want to make visible the signs of the Kingdom, to – as Pope Benedict said – propose the faith, not impose it.”

     “‘Driving Home the Faith’ will be a first in all of Catholic radio, a daily program hosted by a priest,” Levitt said. “We want everyon to have SHR as a preset on their radios, as thousands do already. In fact, with three frequencies, we can fill three presets, from Dry Ridge, Kentucky, to Dayton and beyond.”

     “We want people to be so engaged that they’ll sit in their driveways listening,” Father Jack said. “We want them to be happy to be home, but to say, ‘I’ve got to hear this last bit before I turn off the engine.’” 

    “Driving Home the Faith” will be broadcast from 4-6 p.m. on Sacred Heart Radio (740 AM – Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky,  89.5 FM – Hamilton, and 910 AM – Northern Cincinnati, Middletown, and Dayton) beginning Sept. 4. Listen online at, or by smartphone with the station’s Apple or Google Play apps. 

Click to read companion articles “Station’s longtime goal: A priest on the radio every day” and “Media Catholics of the 20th century.”

A statue of Jesus and His Sacred Heart sits above some of the sound equipment at Sacred Heart Radio, headquartered in Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center in Norwood. CT PHOTO/GAIL FINKE

Jesuit priest and school president offers prayers at McCain memorials

09/04/2018 - 5:08pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool via Reuters


WASHINGTON (CNS) — Jesuit Father Edward Reese, the president of St. Ignatius Prep School in San Francisco, offered prayers in both Phoenix and Washington, including a homily at the National Cathedral in Washington, after the death of John McCain, the senator from Arizona who died Aug. 25 at age 81 after a long struggle with brain cancer.

Father Reese knew the McCain family when he was president at another Jesuit high school, Brophy Prep in Phoenix, for 20 years. Two of McCain’s sons attended Brophy and McCain’s wife, Cindy, served on the board of trustees.

In his Sept. 1 homily, Father Reese quoted from Gerard Manley Hopkins, himself a Jesuit priest and poet: “What I do is me: for that I came. But, I say more: the just man justices; keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces; acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is — Christ — for Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his, to the Father through the features of men’s faces.”

“Don’t misunderstand me. We are not recommending John for sainthood. He was so very human and for that reason we can see God in his life,” Father Reese said.

McCain “was the just man justicing,” he added. “For John McCain, every human being deserved to be treated justly. He saw God our Father through the features of every person, especially those poor, persecuted by power and those in need.”

The 31-year senator, who served in Vietnam and was held captive by the North Vietnamese for six years, “was a man who loved and knew that love is seen in action — in doing,” Father Reese said.

“He was so often surrounded by servicemen and women for whom he has a special affection.” In death, McCain continues to be surrounded by fellow servicemen and women; he is buried at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland.

At an Aug. 31 memorial service at North Phoenix Baptist Church in Phoenix, Father Reese reminded mourners that “Jesus, at his final meal with his friends, charged them to ‘remember me … in the breaking of the bread.'” Bread, the priest added, “must be broken to be shared. We celebrate the life today of a man who unselfishly was broken that we may all be put together again as one.”

Father Reese said, “We now are called to re-member, put together again in our lives and heart, John McCain our brother, Jesus’ brother.”

He quoted from another poet, Henry Scott-Holland, an Anglican priest who died in 1918. His “Death Is Nothing at All” was not intended to be a poem, but was delivered as part of a 1910 sermon: “Laugh as we always laughed, at jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without effect. Without the trace of a shadow on it.”

McCain was a lifelong Episcopalian, but attended services at a Southern Baptist church for 17 years.

Prior to the memorial, Father Reese delivered an invocation for McCain at the Arizona state capital in Phoenix where McCain lay in state. “Loving God, see our tears for our brother, our father and husband, our fellow citizen and senator,” he prayed. “Let these tears bring blooming in the desert he loved, in the country he served, in all our hearts! Amen.”

Father Reese also said one of the opening prayers at the 2008 Republican National Convention that nominated McCain for president. He is the brother of another Jesuit priest, Father Thomas Reese, an author and journalist.

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Cardinal Wuerl addresses church’s ‘pain, confusion and disillusionment’

09/04/2018 - 4:57pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jaclyn Lippelmann, Catholic Standard

By Mark Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Addressing the clergy abuse crisis in the church will require “wider lay engagement, more realized accountability and evident transparency,” said Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl at the end of a Sept. 2 Mass in Washington.

In remarks after Communion, at the installation Mass for a new pastor at Annunciation Parish in Washington, Cardinal Wuerl said the church must follow a pathway to holiness and bring “Christ’s renewing light” to the darkness of the abuse crisis and the pain it has caused.

The way forward must involve “a renewed commitment on the part of each priest to do what in fact the vast majority of priests do so well every day. You and I must continue to support them as they carry out their ministry that is such a significant part of the healing.”

The cardinal also stressed the importance of church accountability and engaging the laity in the wake of the resignation of retired Washington Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick over abuse allegations and the Pennsylvania grand jury report documenting clergy sexual abuse against minors over the past seven decades in six dioceses, including Pittsburgh, led by then-Bishop Wuerl from 1988 until his appointment as archbishop of Washington in 2006.

Since the release of this report, Cardinal Wuerl has faced strong criticism and calls for his resignation for his record in confronting clergy sexual abuse in the Pittsburgh Diocese.

Following canon law, the cardinal submitted his resignation to Pope Francis in 2015 when he turned 75. The pope has not accepted it.

In an Aug. 27 letter to staff of the Archdiocese of Washington, Msgr. Charles Antonicelli, vicar general and moderator of the curia, said that in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, then-Bishop Wuerl reached out to abuse survivors, removed all priests with credible claims of abuse against them, and was a leader in child protection.

At the end of the Sept. 2 Mass, installing Msgr. Michael Mellone as pastor, Cardinal Wuerl said the prayers of Catholics are for the whole church wounded by the shame of the actions that caused the abuse crisis. “You too bear a deep wound, because you love the church — that’s why you’re here, and you do not know what is coming next.”

He acknowledged the “pain, confusion and disillusionment” that Catholics feel, and he said he wished he could wipe it all away.

“As we move forward, I hope to lead by action, not just by words,” he said, and then quoted part of what he had written in an Aug. 30 letter to priests in the archdiocese: “I ask you for prayers for me, for forgiveness for my errors in judgment, for my inadequacies, as well as for the grace to find, with you, ways of healing, ways of offering fruitful guidance in this darkness.”

Near the end of his remarks, a man shouted: “Shame on you!” and stormed out of church.

This was right after the cardinal had asked the congregation to “hold close in our prayers and loyalty to our Holy Father, Pope Francis. Increasingly, it is clear that he is the object of considerable animosity.”

After the man’s outburst, Cardinal Wuerl said he wished he could redo decisions that he had made in his three decades as a bishop “and each time get it right.” He encouraged people to join him in seeking God’s grace and mercy as the church moves forward. He asked for their prayers for him, and for all those who were abused and all those suffering in the aftermath of abuse.

“We do all of this first in prayer, mindful that the source of our contrition, of our healing, and of our pathway into the future is the victory Christ won for us on the cross,” he said.

The cardinal received applause at the end of his remarks.

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Zimmermann is editor of the Catholic Standard, archdiocesan newspaper of Washington.

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Silence is Christ’s response to lies, divisiveness, pope says at Mass

09/03/2018 - 12:02pm

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Jesus himself showed that the best way to respond to scandal and divisiveness is to stay silent and pray, Pope Francis said Sept. 3 as he resumed his early morning Masses with invited guests.

“With people lacking good will, with people who seek only scandal, with those who look only for division, who want only destruction,” he said, the best response is “silence. And prayer.”

The pope’s Mass and homily came just over a week after Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former papal nuncio to the United States, called on Pope Francis to resign for allegedly ignoring sanctions Pope Benedict XVI had placed on then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick for sexual misconduct.

Asked about the archbishop’s 11-page document, which included allegations of a “homosexual current” at the highest levels of the church, Pope Francis told reporters Aug. 26 to read the document for themselves and make their own judgments. The Vatican press office and most officials named in the archbishop’s document also refused to comment.

The Gospel for Sept. 3 recounted Jesus’ return to Nazareth and the fury of the townspeople when he refused to perform miracles for them. The reading from St. Luke ends: “They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.”

In his homily, Pope Francis said the reading should help Christians “reflect on how to act in daily life when there are misunderstandings,” but also to understand “how the father of lies, the accuser, the devil acts to destroy the unity of a family, of a people.”

According to a Vatican News report on the homily, Pope Francis said that it was with his silence that Jesus defeated the “wild dogs,” the devil, who “had sown lies in the hearts.”

“It wasn’t people, it was a pack of wild dogs that chased him out of the city,” the pope said. But Jesus is silent. “It is the dignity of Jesus. With his silence he defeats that wild pack and walks away because it was not yet his hour.’

“This teaches us that when there is this way of acting, of not seeing the truth, silence remains,” he said.

Even in a family, he said, there are times when a discussion of politics or sports or money escalates into a truly destructive argument; “in these discussions in which you see the devil is there and wants to destroy — silence. Have your say, then keep quiet.”

“Because the truth is meek. The truth is silent. The truth is not noisy,” he said.

Remaining silent and refusing to fight back is not always easy, he said, but it is what Jesus did and it is “anchored in the strength of God.”

“May the Lord grant us the grace to discern when we must speak and when we must remain silence,” he prayed.

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Prayer on this Labor Day

09/03/2018 - 12:28am
Creator God,
thank you for providing us
with the gift to share our talents. Provide our community, our nation, our world
the fortitude to provide work for all
which is decent and fair. Make us faithful stewards
of your creation
to enhance the human dignity
of our global family. We ask this in the name of Jesus,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit
now and forever. Amen

Pope: Pray, act to protect clean water, guarantee access to it

09/01/2018 - 1:03pm

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Water is a gift of God that makes life possible and yet millions of people do not have access to safe drinking water, and rivers, seas and oceans continue to be polluted, Pope Francis said.

“Care for water sources and water basins is an urgent imperative,” the pope said in a message Sept. 1, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, an observance begun by the Orthodox Church and now celebrated by many Christians.

With the world day 2018 focused on water, Pope Francis drew special attention to the more than 600 million people who do not have regular access to clean drinking water.

“Access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights,” he said, quoting from his encyclical “Laudato Si'” on the environment.

“In considering the fundamental role of water in creation and in human development,” he wrote, “I feel the need to give thanks to God for ‘Sister Water,'” as St. Francis of Assisi said. Water is “simple and useful for life like nothing else on our planet.”

Fulfilling the Gospel mandate to give the thirsty something to drink involves more than individual acts of charity, although those are important, he said. It also involves “concrete choices and a constant commitment to ensure to all the primary good of water.”

Believers have an obligation to thank God for the gift of water and “to praise him for covering the earth with the oceans,” Pope Francis said. But they also have an obligation to work together to keep the oceans clean instead of allowing them to be “littered by endless fields of floating plastic.”

Thinking of oceans and seas, also led the pope to think of the thousands of migrants and refugees who “risk their lives at sea in search of a better future.”

“Let us ask the Lord and all those engaged in the noble service of politics that the more sensitive questions of our day, such as those linked to movements of migration, climate change and the right of everyone to enjoy primary goods, may be faced with generous and farsighted responsibility and in a spirit of cooperation, especially among those countries most able to help,” he wrote.

Pope Francis also offered prayers for people who fish and others who earn their livings at sea, for those who minister to them and for all the scientists and public policy experts who help the public recognize the treasures of the sea and work to protect them.

And, as the Catholic Church prepares for a world Synod of Bishops on young people, he urged Christians to educate and pray for the young “that they may grow in knowledge and respect for our common home and in the desire to care for the essential good of water, for the benefit of all.”

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Former nuncio now says sanctions against McCarrick were ‘private’

09/01/2018 - 10:33am

By Cindy Wooden

ROME (CNS) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former nuncio to the United States who called on Pope Francis to resign for allegedly lifting sanctions placed on Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, now says those “sanctions” were “private” and neither he nor now-retired Pope Benedict XVI ever was able to enforce them.

While Archbishop Vigano went into hiding after publishing his “testimony” Aug. 25 about Archbishop McCarrick — and about Pope Francis and a host of other current and former Vatican officials — the former nuncio has continued to speak to the writers who originally helped him publish the document.

Pope Francis has not said anything since Aug. 26 when he told reporters traveling with him to study the document and do their own research. Even if the sanctions were private, Archbishop Vigano claimed Pope Francis was aware of them.

The measures imposed by Pope Benedict were in response to reports of Archbishop McCarrick’s sexual misconduct with and sexual harassment of seminarians. After allegations that Archbishop McCarrick had sexually abused a minor were deemed credible in June, Pope Francis publicly imposed sanctions on him and accepted his resignation from the College of Cardinals.

Archbishop Vigano also had said Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, Archbishop McCarrick’s successor, had long been aware of Pope Benedict’s sanctions, but the Archdiocese of Washington said Aug. 27, “Cardinal Wuerl has categorically denied that any of this information was communicated to him.”

One of the outlets that originally published Archbishop Vigano’s text, LifeSiteNews, published an article Aug. 31 with Archbishop Vigano explaining how, after Pope Benedict allegedly imposed sanctions on Archbishop McCarrick in “2009 or 2010,” Archbishop McCarrick continued to concelebrate at large public Masses and visit the Vatican and Pope Benedict himself.

Archbishop Vigano now says Pope Benedict made the sanctions private, perhaps “due to the fact that he (Archbishop McCarrick) was already retired, maybe due to the fact that he (Pope Benedict) was thinking he was ready to obey.”

The former nuncio said that in November 2011 he was sent as nuncio to the United States with specific information about the sanctions from Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. The cardinal has not responded to a Catholic News Service request for an interview.

Archbishop Vigano appeared publicly with then-Cardinal McCarrick at a May 2012 gala in New York honoring the cardinal. LifeSiteNews said the archbishop explained that “he was just beginning his role as the pope’s representative at the time” and that “the nuncio is not somebody who may enforce restrictions directly, especially with a cardinal, who is considered the superior.”

The other English-language outlet that originally published Archbishop Vigano’s text was the National Catholic Register, a newspaper owned by EWTN. The Register had reported that it “independently confirmed” that Pope Benedict “remembers instructing Cardinal (Tarcisio) Bertone to impose measures but cannot recall their exact nature.”

In a Register blog post Aug. 31, the author of the original story, Edward Pentin, provided more information from his source, saying the retired pope is now “unable to remember very well” how the supposed sanctions were handled. “As far as (Pope) Benedict could recall, the source said the instruction was essentially that (then-Cardinal) McCarrick should keep a ‘low profile.’ There was ‘no formal decree, just a private request,'” Pentin wrote.

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Obituaries August

09/01/2018 - 12:10am

Deacon Joseph Coll

A Mass of Christian Burial for Deacon Joseph Coll was celebrated July 21 at St. Columban Church in Loveland.

Deacon Coll died July 9 in Jacksonville, Florida.

He was ordained to the permanent diaconate in 1982. He had been at St. Columban for 42 years, 35 of those as a deacon. Deacon Coll also faithfully gave his time, talent and treasure to the Stewardship Commission and was proud of the work and consultation he gave as part of the team. Last year, he was called to serve at a parish closer to family in St. Augustine, Florida.

Deacon Coll is survived by his sons, Brian, Christopher and Stephen.

Interment was in Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

Sister Martha Feder

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated for Benedictine Sister Martha Feder on July 23 at St. Walburg Monastery Chapel.

Sister Martha, 95, died July 14. She was a Benedictine Sister of St. Walburg Monastery for 74 years.

A native of Latonia, Kentucky, Sister Martha served as an elementary school teacher and then as principal of Villa Madonna Academy Elementary School for 25 years.

After leaving the field of education, she served as the associate director of the Worship Office of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for 17 years. Her ministry took her to many, if not all, parishes in the archdiocese, working with catechists and liturgy directors. She also worked on or wrote several publications that were used in the archdiocese and sold both nationally and internationally.

Following her retirement, she managed St. Walburg Monastery library and served as a member of the monastery council from 2013 until 2018.

Interment was in the monastery cemetery