Briefs

NATION
BALTIMORE (CNS) – A funeral Mass was offered Nov. 23 at St. Peter Claver Church in West Baltimore for Beverly A. Carroll, a social justice advocate who spent her life raising her voice for African American Catholics in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the United States and the world. Carroll, the founding director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Black Catholics, died Nov. 13. She was 75. Bishop John H. Ricard, a former auxiliary bishop of Baltimore and current superior general of the Baltimore-based Josephites, celebrated the Mass for his friend. Carroll worked for many years with Bishop Ricard, who also is the retired bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee. “She was a great advocate for the community, for the church, for African Americans in the church,” said Josephite Father Ray P. Bomberger, pastor of St. Peter Claver Parish, to which Carroll belonged her whole life. “She was interested in the church, the people of the church, what was going on, (and) how we could do it better,” he said. Father Bomberger praised Carroll’s devotion to her church, both in her home community and around the country, as well as her interest in education and social justice. Carroll was a lifelong parishioner of St. Peter Claver, where she served as a corporator and parish council member.

Alex Lindbergh, left, a freshman at Bishop Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis, arm wrestles Asia Carmon of the Diocese of Raleigh, N.C., at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis Nov. 20, 2021, during the National Catholic Youth Conference. (CNS photo/Sean Gallagher, The Criterion)

INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) – “Follow me to arm-wrestle a seminarian! See if you can beat a man who receives Communion every day!” Holding a chalk board with “Arm Wrestle a Seminarian” written on it, seminarian Samuel Hansen barked his invitation while walking through the halls of the Indiana Convention Center Nov. 20, the final day of the National Catholic Youth Conference. “It was incredibly fun,” said Hansen, a senior at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary and a member of St. Roch Parish, both in Indianapolis. “Just walking with the sign made a lot of people laugh. I felt like a ballpark food salesman. But it energized the convention center quite a bit.” In response to Hansen’s hawking, a steady group of challengers gathered around a table promoting vocations to the diocesan priesthood that had earlier attracted fewer visitors when the seminarians manning it waited for NCYC participants to come to them on their own. As lighthearted and winsome as his strategy to attract attention was, Hansen saw it as following in the tradition of the saints. St. John Bosco, for example, did sleight-of-hand tricks and juggling acts for kids in his village to get them to listen to his catechesis lesson. The NCYC always includes a thematic area made up of villages, or venues, in the convention hall that have traditional exhibits as well as interactive educational and recreational activities for attendees. “The saints stepped out of line and took extraordinary actions to inspire others,” Hansen told The Criterion, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

VATICAN
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis signed a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Titus Brandsma, clearing the way for the canonization of the 20th-century martyr murdered at the Dachau concentration camp. The Dutch Carmelite friar was sent to Dachau for treason – after defending Jews and press freedom – and was killed with a lethal injection. The Vatican announced Pope Francis’ decision in his case and a number of other sainthood causes Nov. 25. Dachau, the notorious Nazi concentration camp in Germany most associated with the genocide of thousands of Jews during World War II, also held more than 2,700 clergy – 2,400 of them Catholic priests. Blessed Brandsma was sent there after urging editors of the Dutch Catholic press to violate a new law of the Third Reich and not print any Nazi propaganda. He also denounced Nazism as “a sewer of falsehood that must not be tolerated,” said Dianne Traflet, an assistant professor of pastoral theology and the associate dean of graduate studies at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, during a talk at the national World War II Museum in 2018. Pope Francis also recognized a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Carolina Santocanale, also known as Blessed Mary of Jesus, an Italian nun born in 1852, who founded the Congregation of the Capuchin Sisters of the Immaculate of Lourdes. The Vatican did not immediately announce dates for the canonization ceremonies.

WORLD
ANKAWA, Iraq (CNS) – Walking through this mainly Christian town outside of Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, it’s easy to see many changes since the victims of Islamic State militants fled here for safety seven years ago. Gone are the tents and caravans that dotted church yards and open fields to house those escaping forced conversion to Islam or death at the hands of the Islamic State militants in 2014. Colorful laundry once hung from balconies, while some people slept on church pews. The cavernous concrete skeleton of a shopping mall then sheltered 2,500 displaced people. Support from Catholic and other churches built and cordoned off rooms on three-stories; each room housed a single family, and all shared basic cooking and bathroom facilities. The unfinished structure has given way to the Ankawa Mall, where people can food shop at the French Carrefour supermarket, eat in a Turkish restaurant or buy Hello Kitty accessories at a Japanese import shop. In 2017, the Iraqi military and U.S.-led coalition troops forced out Islamic State fighters. Since then, Catholic churches and organizations have been working hard to address challenges faced by Iraq’s historic Christian community and other religious minorities. “People have faced tremendous difficulties and wounding by the Islamic State. We are still experiencing the practical effects of loss and trauma,” said Fadi, an Armenian Christian worshipping at a local church. Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda of Irbil stewarded the building of four schools, a university and a hospital, providing local people with badly needed employment, with assistance from Stephen Rasche, who is counsel to the Chaldean Archdiocese of Irbil.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (CNS) – When Father Francis Galvan left Sacred Heart Church in Delta Nov. 15, he did not expect to find himself at the center of a catastrophic flood and what is being called the storm of the century. But within hours, the Augustinian priest was at ground zero of rescue efforts and witnessing humanity at its best, joining with Agassiz residents in responding to the needs of stranded travelers. “There I saw and realized how the human heart in the worst situations comes out its best – eyes looking only at those in need of help,” he told The B.C. Catholic, newspaper of the Vancouver Archdiocese, by email. Father Galvan arrived in Harrison Hot Springs only to find the study week canceled due to torrential rains, so he headed over to St. Anthony of Padua Church in Agassiz to check in with pastor Father Dennis Flores. There, the two priests saw rescue helicopters flying overhead and decided to head to the town’s community center. They found themselves in the middle of a massive rescue and relief effort. “Strong winds were blowing along with heavy rains, and I watched rescue helicopters landing, one after another,” Father Galvan said. Evacuees who had been stranded by highway mudslides emerged from the helicopters.

Briefs

NATION
BALTIMORE (CNS) – The U.S. church today is called more than ever to carry out its centuries-long evangelizing mission at a time of spiritual awakening rising from “under the clouds of the pandemic” and the country’s uncertain future, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops told his fellow prelates. “People are starting to examine what they truly believe and what they value most deeply in their lives,” said Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, who spoke Nov. 16 during the opening public session of the USCCB’s Nov. 15-18 general assembly in Baltimore. The questions people have allow the church to continue its mission, even in an increasingly secularized society, the archbishop said. The challenge, he said, is “to understand how the church should carry out her mission.” Archbishop Gomez acknowledged that differences among members of the church exist because of the differing views people hold on how to move forward. Still, he said, “there are also many signs of hope” that present new opportunities to bring the Gospel to others. The archbishop turned to a 19th-century prelate to find inspiration for the path ahead. Archbishop John Ireland, who as a young priest served as a chaplain in the Union Army, was a “powerful advocate for African Americans and for the rights of immigrants,” he explained.

Attendees are seen Nov. 12, 2018, at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ general assembly in Baltimore. The Nov. 15-18, 2021, assembly in Baltimore is the first time the bishops gathered in person for a national meeting since the pandemic began. (CNS photo/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters)

WASHINGTON (CNS) – A billboard will go up in New York’s Times Square during Christmas and New Year’s to promote and celebrate the evermore popular podcast “The Bible in a Year,” but more is in store for the program that topped the charts shortly after its debut in January. The creators of the daily podcast that leads listeners through the Bible’s narrative have announced several new initiatives designed to highlight the show’s success and attract even more listeners. An all-new Spanish-language version of the podcast – La Biblia en un año – with original commentary and a new, native-Spanish speaking host, will be launched Jan. 1. “The Bible in a Year Retreat” virtual event for listeners will take place Feb 18-20. It will have a limited capacity for participants but is “designed to help Catholics cultivate a lifelong relationship with the word of God – one that extends far beyond the podcast.” The planned billboard will be unveiled Dec. 19 in Times Square and will stay up through Jan. 9. “Through distraction and distress, our culture has lost a hopeful, historical biblical worldview – but by the grace of God this podcast has helped thousands rediscover it,” said Father Mike Schmitz, a priest of the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, and popular Catholic speaker and author, who hosts the podcast.

BANGOR, Maine (CNS) – “I hope he knows how awesome he is!” said a seventh grader at All Saints Catholic School when students sprang into action to honor Roy Ward of Bangor, a World War II veteran who celebrated his 102nd birthday on Veterans Day itself. All Saints students, who have a special appreciation for veterans, decided to create 102 birthday cards to celebrate Ward’s birthday and honor his service in the process. Ward served in the U.S. Navy in World War II as a machinist mate first class from 1941 to 1947, serving on three different vessels – USS Mizpah, USS Shenandoah and USS Yosemite. “It was too much of an opportunity for community service to pass up,” said Matthew Houghton, principal of All Saints in Bangor. “The cards are warm and creative and showcase the appreciation our students have for those who have fought for our freedom,” Houghton said.

VATICAN
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Lasting peace in the world can be achieved only by responding to the needs of current and future generations, the Vatican said as it announced the theme Pope Francis chose for his 2022 World Peace Day message. “Education, work and dialogue between generations: tools for building lasting peace” will be the theme for the Jan. 1 commemoration and for the message Pope Francis will write for the occasion, said a Vatican communique published Nov. 13. The Vatican said education, work and dialogue are consistently evolving and that Pope Francis’ message will “propose an innovative reading that responds to the needs of current and future times.” The pope’s message, the communique said, will be an invitation “to read the signs of the times with the eyes of faith, so that the direction of this change awakens new and old questions with which it is right and necessary to be confronted.” Pope Francis will seek to answer questions about education and how it contributes to lasting peace, the Vatican said. He will also address how work can “respond more or less to the vital needs of human beings on justice and freedom.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Visiting Cyprus and Greece in early December, Pope Francis will have several meetings with the countries’ Orthodox leaders and with the migrants and refugees their nations host. While Catholics account for only a small percentage of the Christians in both countries, the pope will hold meetings in both Nicosia and Athens with priests, religious and seminarians and will celebrate public Masses in both cities. The Vatican Nov. 13 released the detailed schedule of the pope’s visit Dec. 2-4 to Cyprus and Dec. 4-6 to Greece, including a return visit to migrants and refugees on the island of Lesbos awaiting resettlement.

WORLD
HONG KONG (CNS) – A Chinese bishop who was allegedly kidnapped by authorities in late October has returned to his diocese, media reports say. Ucanews.com reported Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou has resurfaced, with church officials and the faithful offering thanksgiving prayers for his return. It is still unknown when the 58-year-old bishop was released following his arrest Oct. 25. The authorities reportedly said the bishop was taken for “tourism.” Bishop Shao, ordained with a papal mandate as a coadjutor bishop in 2011, fell out of favor with the government as his appointment was not approved by the state-sanctioned Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China and the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. His refusal to join and collaborate with state-run bodies led to a series of arrests and detentions. Before this detention, he had been arrested six times, including for seven months in 2017. The whereabouts of Bishop Joseph Zhang Weizhu of Xinxiang remain unknown, ucanews.com reported. Bishop Zhang was arrested in May with 10 priests and an unspecified number of seminarians.

ASSISI, Italy (CNS) – With a mix of awe and excitement, pilgrims from many parts of Europe conquered the exhaustion of a long road trip and prepared to celebrate the World Day of the Poor with Pope Francis. Lukasz Baczkowski from Poland was a bit incredulous but proud that other members of his community supported by the Barka Foundation for Mutual Help elected him as one of their 10 representatives to the pope’s meeting with the poor in Assisi Nov. 12. They drove 24 hours in a Volkswagen bus to get to the hilltop town in central Italy. Baczkowski said St. Francis of Assisi is an “inspiration” for him. With his renunciation of his family’s wealth and his total devotion to serving God and God’s poor, the Assisi saint proved that “everyone can change. No one was a saint from the beginning,” Baczkowski told Catholic News Service Nov. 11 at a pilgrim hostel in Assisi. That is a message he clings to as he continues his journey of sobriety and of living in a community rather than on the streets. The faith aspect of the Barka community and of the pilgrimage is a key part of what Baczkowski sees as his redemption. “The most important thing is the soul of a man,” he said. Faith and a helping hand from other Catholics are what helped him move from sleeping on the street, drinking, stealing – and especially from having contemplated suicide, he said.

CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico (CNS) – Thirteen-hundred miles from home, a group from the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, on a border immersion trip encountered a young woman with two kids and a car with a flat tire in Ciudad Juárez. The group, which included five deacon candidates, their formation director, diocesan bishop and immersion experience leaders, stopped to change the tire. The unexpected encounter reinforced the purpose of the Iowans’ journey: to witness life on the border, to learn about the experience of migrants, and to better minister to migrants back home. “It is one thing to hear their stories, but it is quite another to see and be at one of the main crossing points from Mexico to the U.S.,” said Davenport Bishop Thomas R. Zinkula. “It is important to talk to and learn from people who are ministering to forcibly displaced persons at the border and to the migrants themselves,” he told The Catholic Messenger, newspaper of the Davenport Diocese. Their journey began Nov. 2 with a 20-hour drive in a van from Davenport to El Paso, Texas, where they took up residence at the Encuentro Project retreat house. The Encuentro Project provides a faith-based, multifaceted immersion program in the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez border region to give participants a deeper understanding of the complex migration reality and of the community. “Encuentro” is Spanish for “encounter.”

‘What is love?’ Pope, other elders share stories for Netflix

By Cindy Wooden
ROME (CNS) – Pope Francis, Martin Scorsese, Jane Goodall and a group of less famous “over 70s” talk to young filmmakers about love in the first episode of a four-part documentary available worldwide on Netflix on Christmas Day.

The episode “Love,” part of the series “Stories of a Generation,” premiered at the Rome Film Festival Oct. 21.

The documentary is based on “Sharing the Wisdom of Time,” a book in which Pope Francis called for creating “an alliance between the young and old people” by sharing their stories.

Published by Chicago-based Loyola Press in 2018, the book featured an introduction by Pope Francis, the stories of 30 older people and reflections by a handful of younger people on “What I learned from an elder.”

Simona Ercolani, director and producer of the Netflix series, told reporters Oct. 21 that she started working on the project after reading the book, and then the COVID-19 pandemic struck, hitting Italy early and devastating its elderly population.

The idea to make the series “became urgent because every day we had a bulletin of deaths,” she said. “We spoke with Netflix, which also felt the urgency of collecting the stories of people, who at that moment were more fragile. They liked this idea of a dialogue between generations – filmmakers under 30 and contributors over 70.”

Pope Francis is interviewed at the Vatican for “Stories of a Generation,” a Netflix series based on the pope’s book, “Sharing the Wisdom of Time.” The documentary features the pope and other people over 70 sharing their life stories and experiences with filmmakers under 30. The documentary is scheduled to be available on Netflix Dec. 25, 2021. (CNS photo/Simone Risoluti, Vatican Media)

“The stories are extraordinary in their normality, because everyone, including Pope Francis, put themselves in a position of relating (to the filmmaker) not just as a grandchild, but human being to human being,” she said.

Giovanni Bossetti, nonfiction manager for Netflix Italy, told reporters that the streaming service is all about sharing stories, so “besides the incredible access to the Holy Father” that Ercolani had, the series gave Netflix an opportunity “to tell stories that are completely different and that touch themes that are central” to the life of every person.

Eighteen elders from five continents and speaking four different languages appear in the series’ four episodes: Love, Dreams, Struggle and Work.

Pope Francis’ commentary on the four themes and reflections from his own life appear in each episode.

While the series is not “didactic” at all, Bossetti said, the elders share important, universal values with the young filmmakers and the viewing audience.

For the Netflix series, Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica interviewed Pope Francis while young filmmakers interviewed the other elders. Francesca Scorsese, 21, interviewed her father, the director and producer, Martin Scorsese.

Father Spadaro told reporters that Pope Francis agreed to participate in the series on the condition that he would not be “the star” of the project but would simply enter into the conversation like the other elders interviewed, “talking about himself and his personal experiences.”

“The stars are the people the pope likes to refer to as ‘the saints next door,’” he said. “They are normal people who are the heroes of daily life.”

“What is love?” Father Spadaro asked Pope Francis.

That, the pope responded at first, would be like asking, “What is air?”

“You can say love is a feeling,” or a series of electrical impulses or something akin to magnetic fields drawing together, he said. But one thing is certain: “Gratuity is key. Love is free or it is not love.”

Tango, his grandmother Rosa, helping others and the importance of dreaming of a better world all come up in the papal conversation.

Speaking via Zoom, Jane Goodall, the primatologist and anthropologist, told reporters at the Rome news conference that the film, like her Roots & Shoots program for young people, can sow much needed hope by bringing elders and young people together.

“To bring the wisdom of the elders alongside the passion of the youth is what it is going to take to change the world,” Goodall said.

Briefs

NATION
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Ahead of President Joe Biden’s Oct. 29 meeting with Pope Francis, panelists in a webinar offered mostly praise for Biden’s sincerity and what they said is his commitment to his Catholic faith. “We believe President Biden treats his vocation as a sacred one,” said Mary J. Novak, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby organization. Biden and the pope both “lead with a very clear conviction that solidarity is essential to our faith,” she said during the Oct. 26 event. In announcing the webinar, a Network news release called the meeting of the two leaders “an important inflection point for global and U.S. politics.” The White House has indicated that discussion topics for Biden and the pope in their private meeting at the Vatican are likely to include climate change, income inequality and migration. Webinar participants highlighted these same issues as those they hoped the two leaders would discuss. Whether the issue of abortion will come up is not known; Biden as a Catholic supports legal abortion, while church teaching upholds the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death. One prominent U.S. pro-life leader, Judie Brown of the American Life League, said in an Oct. 28 statement that Pope Francis “needs to hold Biden accountable” for “his pro-abortion views.”

WASHINGTON (CNS) – The theme of the 2022 March for Life in Washington is “Equality Begins in the Womb.” “We want to expand” the nation’s current “rigorous debate about inequality” to the unborn, said Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. She made the comments Oct. 27 at the Heritage Foundation, where the theme was announced. Calling the theme a cry for “inherent human dignity because of who we are in our essence,” she added, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere, including in the womb.” The March for Life is scheduled for Jan. 21. It is always held on a date near the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 rulings, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which legalized abortion nationwide. Carrie Severino, president of Judicial Crisis Network, said 2022 is “going to be one of the most significant years for the march yet,” said Severino, referring to oral arguments to be heard Dec. 1 by the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. It’s an appeal by Mississippi to remove a lower court’s injunction on its law banning most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. A ruling in the case is expected next year. If the court upholds the state’s law, many expect Roe v. Wade to be overturned.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CNS) – When the Taliban began taking control of Afghanistan in mid-August, “in one night, everything changed,” recalled Adam. Adam, his wife and their 7-year-old son are three of the more than 150 Afghans whom Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Nashville have helped and will continue to help resettle in the next several months through the State Department’s Afghan Placement Assistance Program. At the beginning of September, the Department of Homeland Security implemented Operation Allies Welcome “to support vulnerable Afghans, including those who worked alongside us in Afghanistan for the past two decades as they safely resettle in the United States,” according to the official Department of Homeland Security website, further leading to implementation of the placement program. Since August 2018, Adam served as an Afghan interpreter for U.S. service members through the security office at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Because of his service to the U.S. troops, he requested his family’s true identity remain anonymous to protect their loved ones who are still in Kabul. Adam hopes to study anthropology and prepare for his dream career. “My hope for my future in America is to serve as I served before,” Adam said. “I want to serve for the government because the government can help Afghanistan; the government can help my people.”

VATICAN
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – With the COVID-19 pandemic still underway and with restrictions on gatherings still in place in some countries, the Vatican has again extended the period of time when people can earn a plenary indulgence for visiting a cemetery and praying for the souls of the faithful in purgatory. Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican tribunal dealing with matters of conscience, said the indulgences traditionally obtained during the first week of November can be gained throughout the entire month of November, the Vatican announced Oct. 28. The cardinal said he was acting in response to “pleas recently received from various sacred pastors of the church because of the state of the continuing pandemic.” Traditionally, the faithful could receive a full indulgence each day from Nov. 1 to Nov. 8 when they visited a cemetery to pray for the departed and fulfilled other conditions, and, in particular, when they went to a church or an oratory to pray Nov. 2, All Souls’ Day. Because of the pandemic and the popularity in many cultures of visiting cemeteries for All Souls’ Day, some local governments and dioceses closed cemeteries in the first week of November to prevent crowding. That led Cardinal Piacenza to issue a decree in 2020 extending the period for the indulgences. The decree for 2021 renewed those provisions.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square this year will have a distinctly Indigenous, Andean look with the centerpiece being a “Hilipuska” baby Jesus, that is, one wrapped in a blanket bound with a long cord known as a “chumpi.” The super-swaddled baby is typical of the Andean highlands, particularly in Peru’s Huancavelica region, which is home to the five artists who created the 30-piece Nativity scene. In a statement released Oct. 28, the Vatican City State governing office said the scene was chosen, in part, to mark the 200th anniversary of Peru’s independence. “The Three Kings will have saddlebags or sacks containing foods characteristic of Huancavelica, such as potatoes, quinoa, kiwicha and cañihua, and will be accompanied by llamas carrying a Peruvian flag on their backs,” the Vatican said. “In the crèche, there also will be statues of different animals belonging to the local fauna such as: alpacas, vicuñas, sheep, vizcachas, flamingoes and the Andean condor,” which is the national symbol of Peru. The crèche will sit under a spruce tree, which is expected to be about 90 feet tall. The tree will come from a sustainably managed forest in the Dolomite mountains of Italy’s Trentino-South Tyrol region. The round wooden ornaments also will come from Trentino, the Vatican said.

WORLD
WELLINGTON (CNS) – New Zealand’s Catholic bishops have prepared guidelines for health professionals, chaplains and priests to assist them in their pastoral work with people who decide to die under the country’s End of Life Choice Act that takes effect Nov. 7. While the church opposes the deliberate taking of human life, it cannot turn away people who choose “assisted dying” under the new law, said Bishop Stephen Lowe of Hamilton, New Zealand, vice president of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The church must help people view the questions and choices they face through a Christian lens, Bishop Lowe said in a statement released by the bishops’ conference Oct. 28. “Individuals often find themselves in complex places. In these times, the church tries to offer guidance to people as best they can, but people make their own choices,” he said. “Often as a church, we find ourselves caring for people dealing with the consequences of such choices. Our pastoral practice is always called to be a reflection of our God, who does not abandon his people,” he added.

A euthanasia advocate who suffers from an incurable condition that atrophies her muscles and has left her breathing through a ventilator, lies in bed at her home in Lima, Peru, Feb. 7, 2020. New Zealand bishops have developed guidelines for health professionals, chaplains and priests to assist them in their pastoral work with people who decide to die under the country’s End of Life Choice Act that takes effect Nov. 7, 2021. (CNS photo/Sebastian Castaneda, Reuters)

Nación y Mundo en Fotos

Theresa Wilson Favors, ex directora de la Oficina de Ministerios Católicos Negros para la Arquidiócesis de Baltimore, lleva un retrato de la Hermana Thea Bowman, una Hermana Franciscana de la Adoración Perpetua de Canton, Miss., Durante la procesión de apertura de la Misa del Día de Todos los Santos. en la Iglesia Católica St. Ann en Baltimore el 1 de noviembre de 2021. La hermana Bowman, quien murió en 1990 a los 52 años de cáncer, es una de los seis afroamericanos que son candidatos a la santidad y cuyas causas esperan que el Papa Francisco agilice la esperanza de los defensores de las causas. (Foto del CNS / Kevin J. Parks, Catholic Review)
Un surfista en Huntington Beach, California, se lanza a las olas el 4 de noviembre de 2021, aproximadamente un mes después de que un derrame de petróleo cerró el área. (Foto del CNS / David Swanson, Reuters)
Los partidarios de la Segunda Enmienda, que protege los derechos de los ciudadanos a poseer armas, se manifiestan cerca de la Corte Suprema de Estados Unidos en Washington el 3 de noviembre de 2021. La corte escuchó argumentos orales en un desafío a una ley de Nueva York que requiere que los propietarios de armas obtengan una Licencia especial de las autoridades locales para portar armas de fuego fuera del hogar. (Foto del CNS / Tom Brenner, Reuters)
Jóvenes migrantes cargan cruces mientras asisten a una misa binacional en memoria de los migrantes que murieron durante su viaje a los Estados Unidos cerca de la frontera entre México y Estados Unidos en Ciudad Juárez, México, el 6 de noviembre de 2021. (Foto del CNS / José Luis González , Reuters)
Migrantes en Arriaga, México, son parte de una caravana que se dirige a la Ciudad de México el 6 de noviembre de 2021 (foto CNS / Raquel Cunha, Reuters)
Los nicaragüenses exiliados en Costa Rica marchan en San José, Costa Rica, el 7 de noviembre de 2021, para protestar por las elecciones presidenciales en Nicaragua. Siete candidatos presidenciales fueron descalificados y figuras de la oposición fueron arrestadas antes de que el presidente Daniel Ortega ganara las elecciones. (Foto del CNS / Mayela López, Reuters)
Los partidarios del gobernante Partido Nacional de Honduras sostienen carteles y banderas que dicen “Honduras sí, aborto no” durante una manifestación provida en Tegucigalpa el 7 de noviembre de 2021, antes de las elecciones presidenciales del 28 de noviembre. Cuando el consejo episcopal latinoamericano, o CELAM, se reúna en México del 21 al 28 de noviembre, una parte importante de su agenda es cómo enfrentar el declive de la democracia. (Foto del CNS / Fredy Rodríguez, Reuters)

Briefs

NATION
WASHINGTON (CNS) – President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will have an audience with Pope Francis Oct. 29, the day before the G20 Leaders’ Summit starts in Rome, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Oct. 14. “They will discuss working together on efforts grounded in respect for fundamental human dignity, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the climate crisis and caring for the poor,” she said in a statement. Biden and Pope Francis previously met in 2016, when Biden was vice president, after they both spoke at a conference on adult stem-cell research at the Vatican. In recent weeks, there has been speculation that the two leaders would likely meet since Biden would be in Rome. In a recent interview with Catholic News Service, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, said he was helping the Holy See prepare for Biden’s first presidential visit to the Vatican, sometime during an Oct. 30-31 Rome summit of leading rich and developed nations. “It would be an anomaly if he did not meet the pope while in Rome,” especially since Biden is the first Catholic to be U.S. president in 58 years, the nuncio said.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (CNS) – In his welcoming remarks to open the diocesan eucharistic congress, Memphis Bishop David P. Talley told attendees that “we are all the living body of Christ, in that we are what we receive” – the Eucharist. Christ’s mission “is our mission, for we are members of his body,” he said. “Our work is with our parishes, our parishioners and all of those who have not heard the words of Jesus Christ,” emphasized the bishop, who was installed as the sixth bishop of Memphis in April 2019. Guided by the theme, “That All May Be One” from John 17:21, the Memphis Diocese celebrated its 50th anniversary with its first eucharistic congress, held at the city’s downtown Renasant Convention Center the evening of Oct. 8 and all day Oct. 9. The congress – and the anniversary celebration – was delayed a full year by the arrival of COVID-19, and the havoc it caused. Passion and a sense of purpose were evident nonetheless – and in great abundance. The diocese in western Tennessee was established June 20, 1970, and has a Catholic population of 70,000. The “Opening Mass for All” was celebrated Oct. 8 by retired Memphis Bishop J. Terry Steib, who was the diocese’s fourth bishop, and was its first African American shepherd. He headed the diocese for 23 years, retiring in 2016.

VATICAN
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis has signed a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to the intercession of Pope John Paul I, clearing the way for his beatification. The Italian pope served only 33 days as pontiff; he died in the papal apartments Sept. 28, 1978, at the age of 65, shocking the world and a church that had just mourned the death of St. Paul VI. The Vatican announced Pope Francis’ decision along with a number of other sainthood decrees Oct. 13. In the sainthood cause of Pope John Paul I, the approved miracle involved a young girl in Buenos Aires, Argentina, who developed a severe case of acute encephalitis and uncontrollable and life-threatening brain seizures, and eventually entered septic shock. After doctors told family members her death was “imminent,” the local priest encouraged the family, nurses and others to pray to the late pope for his intercession, according to the website of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes. A panel of experts studying the cause determined there was no scientific explanation for her complete recovery in 2011 and that it could be attributed to the late pope’s intercession. The Vatican did not immediately announce a date for the beatification ceremony.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Christian freedom means respecting other cultures and traditions rather than finding ways to impose “one’s own model of life as though it were the most evolved and the most appealing,” Pope Francis said. “How many errors have been made in the history of evangelization by seeking to impose a single cultural model,” the pope said Oct. 13 during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI audience hall. “At times, even violence was not spared to make a single point of view prevail. In this way, the church has been deprived of the richness of many local expressions that the cultural traditions of entire peoples bring with them. But this is the exact opposite of Christian freedom,” he said. The pope continued his series of talks on St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians by reflecting on the freedom from slavery to sin and death that comes from Christ’s death and resurrection. St. Paul’s assertion is that freedom, given to humanity through grace and love, is “the supreme and new law of Christian life,” which “opens us up to welcoming every people and culture, and at the same time opens every people and culture to a greater freedom,” Pope Francis said.

WORLD
MANILA, Philippines (CNS) – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines congratulated veteran journalist Maria Ressa on being the first Filipino to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Congratulating Ressa Oct. 10, the bishops highlighted the importance of media freedom in the Catholic faith, reported ucanews.com. The Nobel Prize Committee announced Oct. 8 that Ressa and Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov would share this year’s prize for their “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.” Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said in his message to Ressa: “Recent popes have, on occasion, highlighted the important role that the press plays in gauging the health of a healthy democratic society. “For journalists, their work has become more and more difficult because of the level of disinformation and fake news that continue to spread through social communications. The vocation and mission, therefore, of members of the press (as envisioned by our popes) is to contribute not only for the search for truth but, more importantly, to help build a culture of dialogue,” said the message on behalf of the bishops.

Briefs

NATION
WASHINGTON (CNS) – In a 218-211 vote Sept. 24, the U.S. House passed what opponents consider one of the most extreme abortion bills ever seen in the nation – the Women’s Health Protection Act. “This bill is far outside the American mainstream and goes far beyond Roe v Wade,” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., co-chairman of the. Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, said in remarks ahead of the vote. “This bill constitutes an existential threat to unborn children and to the value of life itself.” H.R. 3755 codifies the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide. The measure establishes the legal right to abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy in all 50 states under federal law. “This deceptively-named bill is the most extreme pro-abortion bill our nation has ever seen,” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee, said Sept. 24. If it became law, “it would lead to the deliberate destruction of millions of unborn lives, leaving countless women with physical, emotional and spiritual scars,” he said in a statement. “As a nation built on the recognition that every human being is endowed by its Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, this bill is a complete injustice.”

Heidi Crowter, who has Down syndrome, speaks outside the High Court ahead of a case to challenge the Down syndrome abortion laws in London July 6, 2021. (CNS photo/Hannah McKay, Reuters)

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Panelists at one Sept. 27 forum during an online conference on immigration law and policy noted that the asylum process, like much else in the U.S. immigration system, is in need of its own fixes. The percentage of those who fear being returned to their country of origin has leaped in a 12-year period, from 5% in 2007 to 43% in 2019, according to Ted H. Kim, acting associate director of the Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Directorate, or RAIO, which is a division of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The period from 2016 to 2018, when Kim started working at USCIS, “saw really high numbers at the border, and 46% of those at the border consisted of family units,” he added. That does not take into account “unaccompanied children, trafficking victims, who must be transferred to HHS (Health and Human Services) custody within 72 hours,” Kim said, “or the entire system risks being backed up ,including as recently as this past year.” A statute calling for “expedited removal” of immigrants was passed in 1996, but that was “designed for a different era when we did not see these huge numbers of arrivals at the border like we do today,” Kim said at the forum, sponsored by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network and co-sponsored by the Georgetown University Law School and the Migration Policy Institute. “This has led to a backlog which is quickly approaching the program’s all-time high in the late ‘90s.” He added, “Too often, we’re on our heels in a reactive mode.”

CHICAGO (CNS) – Father Stan Jaszek, a missionary priest from Poland who is serving Native Alaskans in the Diocese of Fairbanks, has been named the recipient of Catholic Extension’s 2021-2022 Lumen Christi Award. The Lumen Christi Award, established in 1978, is the highest honor given by Catholic Extension and goes to people “who radiate and reveal the light of Christ present in the communities where they serve.” “Father Stan intuitively understands that the church can be a force of positive transformation having grown up in communist Poland and witnessing the impact of (St.) John Paul II and the Solidarity movement,” said Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension. “That conviction is what took him as a missionary priest from Poland to Peru early in his priesthood, then later from post-apartheid Africa to Alaska, in the

Father Stan Jaszek, a missionary priest from Poland who is serving Native Alaskans in the Diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska, is seen in this undated photo. Catholic Extension announced Sept. 28, 2021, that Father Jaszek is the recipient of its 2021-2022 Lumen Christi Award. (CNS photo/Ash Adams, courtesy Catholic Extension)

Diocese of Fairbanks where he has faithfully served nearly two decades,” the priest said in a Sept. 28 statement. Father Jaszek currently serves the Native Alaskan villages of the remote Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region, along the coast of the Bering Sea. Out of his 19 years of missionary work in the Diocese of Fairbanks, Father Jaszek has spent 14 of them living among the Yup’ik people. He is one of just a handful of priests ministering in the Fairbanks Diocese, which geographically is the largest U.S. diocese.

VATICAN
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The Vatican announced that Pope Francis will formally launch the process of the Synod of Bishops with a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Oct. 10 Mass, which officially open the synodal process, will be preceded by a day of reflection in the synod hall, the Vatican said in a statement published Oct. 1. The Oct. 9 day of reflection, the statement said, will include “representatives of the people God, including delegates of the bishops’ conferences and related bodies, members of the Roman Curia, fraternal delegates, delegates of consecrated life and ecclesial lay movements, the youth council, etc.” According to the schedule released by the Vatican, the day of reflection will begin with a meditation followed by an address by Pope Francis. It will also feature testimonies by people present at the synod hall, including a young woman from South Africa, a bishop from South Korea, and the head of a religious community from France. Participants will also listen to video testimonies from a nun in the United States, a family in Australia and a priest in Brazil.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Death row inmates in Florida’s prisons refer to their 6-foot-by-9-foot cell as their “house,” with some having lived in their “house” for 40 years – longer than one Catholic lay chaplain said he has lived in his family home in Tallahassee. So when Dale Recinella, the lay minister, goes from cell to cell to offer pastoral care, religious education and spiritual accompaniment, “we go house to house, cell to cell, and that’s where we meet them.” These are men and women who cannot come out, “they can’t even come to the chapel,” so the church must go to them. Recinella has been serving as a Catholic correctional chaplain for inmates on death row and in solitary confinement on behalf of the Catholic bishops of Florida for decades. With just a few more months until his 70th birthday, Recinella was at the Vatican to be honored by the Pontifical Academy for Life and receive its first ever Guardian of Life Award during a special evening event Sept. 28. The academy was holding its general assembly onsite in Rome and online Sept. 27-29. Recinella told Catholic News Service Sept. 28 that, as he has moved on to “semi-retirement,” the church in Florida is working to make sure that this ministry continues “in a very vibrant and active way” by finding dedicated people to follow in his footsteps.


WORLD
LONDON (CNS) – Two women who challenged the U.K. government over a law that allows abortion up to birth for disabled babies have vowed to take their case to appeal after it was dismissed by the High Court. Heidi Crowter, 26, who has Down syndrome, and Máire Lea-Wilson, whose 2-year-old son Aidan also has the condition, objected to a clause in the 1967 Abortion Act that extended the right to abortion beyond the 24-week upper limit when fetuses have disabilities. They claimed the law breached the European Convention on Human Rights because it discriminated against disabled children, and they sought to have the clause removed from the act. They made their case in a two-day hearing in July and learned Sept. 23 that their attempt had failed when the High Court ruled that the clause was not unlawful. Afterward, Crowter said she would seek permission to take the case to the Court of Appeal. “I am really upset not to win, but the fight is not over,” she said outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

MEXICO CITY (CNS) – The Mexican bishops’ migrant ministry has called on the federal government to return to a policy of “open arms” as the country experiences heavy waves of migration – most visibly with Haitians, who recently traveled the length of Mexico to the U.S. border in large numbers. “As a church, we exhort the Mexican government to abandon the militarized migratory policy and recover our tradition of a country with open arms, welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants,” the ministry said in a letter marking World Day of Migrants and Refugees Sept. 26. “We call on the Mexican church, in communion with the Holy Father, to open our hearts and tear down the walls of discrimination, prejudice and the rejections of those who suffer most. We extend a hand to those walking and transiting our streets, parishes and dioceses, to the migrants fleeing repression and pain, who are in search of love and freedom that they cannot find in their countries of origin.” The church’s call for Mexico to revisit its migration policies followed the arrival of some 14,500 Haitians in Del Rio, Texas, where they camped under a bridge as they waited to be processed by U.S. border officials. Many of the migrants were returned to Mexico, some families were admitted into the United States with citations to appear at immigration offices, while planeloads of Haitians were returned to Haiti – where many had not lived for years. Many of the Haitians traveling toward the United States left after the 2010 earthquake on the island and had been working in Brazil and Chile until encountering difficulties in those countries.

Nación y Mundo en fotos

NACIÓN

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Aquellos involucrados en las “responsabilidades sagradas de la justicia, el servicio público y el trabajo diplomático” deben administrar justicia con un espíritu de misericordia y fraternidad, dijo el 3 de octubre el observador permanente del Vaticano ante las Naciones Unidas durante la 69a. Misa Roja en Washington. “La justicia sin fraternidad es fría, ciega y minimalista. La justicia infundida por la fraternidad, en cambio, nunca permanece como una aplicación abstracta de las normas a las situaciones, sino que se transforma en una aplicación atenta de las leyes a las personas que nos importan”. dijo el Arzobispo Gabriele Caccia, homilista de la Misa en la Catedral de San Mateo Apóstol. “La fraternidad es lo que hace posible que la justicia se perfeccione por la misericordia para todos los involucrados, ya que la restauración de la justicia es siempre en última instancia la resolución de una ‘disputa familiar’, considerando que todos somos miembros de la misma familia humana”, dijo el arzobispo. , observador permanente del Vaticano ante las Naciones Unidas. La Misa Roja está patrocinada por la Sociedad John Carroll, un grupo de hombres y mujeres laicos de la Arquidiócesis de Washington de una variedad de profesiones que participan en actividades religiosas, intelectuales, caritativas y sociales. Se celebra tradicionalmente el domingo anterior al primer lunes de octubre, día en que la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos comienza su nuevo mandato después de un receso de verano. La Misa se ofrece para invocar las bendiciones de Dios sobre los responsables de la administración de justicia, así como sobre todos los funcionarios públicos.

Una persona sostiene un rosario y un pañuelo azul mientras la gente participa en una marcha pro-vida en la Ciudad de México el 3 de octubre de 2021, en protesta por la decisión de la Corte Suprema de México de despenalizar el aborto. (Foto del CNS / José Luis González, Reuters)
La gente reza durante la 69ª Misa Roja anual en la Catedral de San Mateo Apóstol en Washington el 3 de octubre de 2021. La Misa busca las bendiciones y la guía de Dios para aquellos involucrados en la administración de justicia. Se celebra tradicionalmente el domingo anterior al primer lunes de octubre, día en que la Corte Suprema de Estados Unidos comienza su nuevo mandato. (Foto del CNS / Andrew Biraj, Catholic Standard)

MUNDO

CIUDAD DE MÉXICO (CNS) – Miles de manifestantes salieron a las calles de México en marchas promovidas como “pro-mujer y pro-vida” y repudiando una decisión reciente de la Corte Suprema que despenaliza el aborto. Las marchas en al menos 89 ciudades de todo el país se “organizaron con poca antelación”, dijo el obispo auxiliar Alfonso Miranda Guardiola de Monterrey, secretario general de la conferencia episcopal mexicana, que ayudó a promover las manifestaciones del 3 de octubre. “Esperamos que este sea el comienzo de un despertar en nuestra población”, dijo el obispo Miranda a Catholic News Service. “(Es) la derrota de la espiral de la muerte y el silencio; el despertar de la mayoría silenciosa a favor de la vida”. La marcha más grande ocurrió en México, con miles de manifestantes recorriendo las calles del centro de la Ciudad de México y gritando: “¡Sí a la vida!” En el emblemático monumento del Ángel de la Independencia, cantaron el himno nacional y realizaron un mitin. “Queremos proponer un gran acuerdo nacional a favor de la mujer y de la vida”, dijo Irma Barrientos, activista y portavoz de las marchas, leyendo una declaración. “Estamos aquí porque por encima de todas estas dificultades, creemos que podemos ayudarnos unos a otros. Estamos aquí porque queremos dejar atrás el reproche y la división, y queremos construir y unir. Queremos un México unido, no un México dividido”. entre la vida y la muerte “. “Hoy dejamos atrás nuestras divisiones y queremos empezar a construir”.

SANTIAGO, Chile (CNS) – El cardenal chileno Jorge Medina Estévez, quien jugó un papel importante en determinar cómo se hicieron las traducciones actuales de la Misa en inglés, murió el 3 de octubre en Santiago; tenía 94 años. De 1996 a 2002, el cardenal Medina se desempeñó como prefecto de la Congregación para el Culto Divino y los Sacramentos, no solo supervisando y aprobando las traducciones de los textos de la Misa, sino también estableciendo pautas sobre cómo se debían hacer las traducciones. El Papa Francisco, en un telegrama de condolencia, describió al cardenal Medina como un “prelado devoto que, durante años y con fidelidad, entregó su vida al servicio de Dios y de la Iglesia universal”. Como prefecto de la congregación de culto, en 1999 el cardenal Medina ordenó una revisión completa de la Comisión Internacional del Inglés en la Liturgia, el organismo patrocinado por 11 conferencias de obispos para redactar versiones comunes en inglés de las oraciones litúrgicas. El cardenal Medina dijo en ese momento que la comisión no estaba dando “a los obispos, a la Santa Sede ya los fieles de habla inglesa un nivel de servicio adecuado”. Y, en 2001, publicó, “Liturgiam Authenticam” (“La auténtica liturgia”), un documento de directrices y principios de traducción subtitulado, “Sobre el uso de lenguas vernáculas en la publicación de los libros de la liturgia romana”. Insistió en traducciones lo más cercanas posible al latín, incluso en la redacción y el orden de las palabras.

El cardenal chileno Jorge Medina Estévez, ex prefecto de la Congregación para el Culto Divino y los Sacramentos, reza en la Basílica de San Pedro en el Vaticano el 16 de abril de 2005. El Cardenal Medina, quien jugó un papel importante en la determinación de las traducciones actuales de la Misa en inglés. se hicieron, murió el 3 de octubre de 2021 en Santiago a los 94 años (foto del CNS / Kimimasa Mayama, Reuters)
La gente viaja en su automóvil con un cartel que dice “salvar a la familia” durante la “Caravana por la vida, la familia y la libertad religiosa” en San Salvador, El Salvador, el 2 de octubre de 2021. El evento fue para agradecer al presidente salvadoreño Nayib Bukele, quien descartó cualquier enmienda constitucional que permita la despenalización del aborto, la legalización del matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo o las medidas para permitir la eutanasia. (Foto del CNS / José Cabezas, Reuters)

Book seeks to correct record on church’s role in key historical period

By Daniel S. Mulhall (CNS)
“The Church and the Middle Ages (1000-1378): Cathedrals, Crusades and the Papacy in Exile” by Steve Weidenkopf. Ave Maria Press (Notre Dame, Indiana, 2020). 192 pp., $17.95.

There are many ways to write about history. Some authors present a chronological progression of events while others offer the “great man” approach in which they tell how specific actors shaped the world.

Some wish to tell a coherent story, to show that because of this string of events a climactic outcome was destined to occur, while others present just the facts allowing the reader to make her or his own decisions about the significance of events.

Steve Weidenkopf in “The Church and the Middle Ages” presents a mostly chronological look at the Catholic Church’s role in shaping the years between 1000 and 1378, through the lens of the men and women who played key roles. Because the major emphasis is on the role of the church, the focus is primarily on Western European events.

This is the book cover of “The Church and the Middle Ages (1000-1378): Cathedrals, Crusades and the Papacy in Exile,” by Steve Weidenkopf. The book is reviewed by Daniel S. Mulhall. (CNS photo/courtesy Ave Maria Press)

Although he has written a short book, Weidenkopf covers a great many important events, including a brief overview of life and worldview of people living during the period covered, the reform of the papacy, the Great Schism between the Eastern and Western branches of Catholicism, the Crusades and the Inquisition.

As books have been written on each of these topics separately, telling their combined stories well in under 200 pages is a challenge that the author meets, often very well.

This book is part of the publisher’s Reclaiming Catholic History series, which aims to “bring church history to life, debunking the myths one era at a time,” according to its introduction.

Thus, Weidenkopf includes a “You Be the Judge” feature in each chapter that seeks to clarify the motive for various events. Also included in each chapter is a longer feature on one person who played a significant role. As one might expect from a series that seeks to correct the record, there is a pro-church bias in how events are portrayed. The Inquisition is even portrayed in a positive light and justified.

A danger in covering so much ground in so few pages is that some topics get little attention or comments are left unexplained.

For example, while the creation of the great Catholic universities is mentioned, little is said about the almost explosive development of thought that occurs during this period that led to the amazing flourishing that was the Renaissance. Another example appears on page 60 when the author writes about “a grueling four-month death march” without explanation.

This is an amazing period in the history of the world in which the Catholic Church played a major part. The foundations of the modern world were laid during this period, so to understand what is happening today it is vital to understand what happened then, warts and all.

For those seeking an introduction to the history of the medieval period, this book provides an “engaging primer,” as the front-cover blurb asserts.

Briefs

NATION
CHICAGO (CNS) – Father Andrew Liaugminas of the Archdiocese of Chicago, has been appointed to serve as an official for the doctrinal section of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The 37-year-old priest will serve with the congregation for five years and will support the congregation’s work promoting the church’s teachings on faith and morals. The oldest of the Roman Curia’s nine congregations, the CDF was founded in 1542 by Pope Paul III to promote and safeguard the church’s teachings throughout the world. Today, the CDF is responsible for fostering a greater understanding of the faith, aiding bishops in their role as teachers of the faith and answering difficult questions that arise on faith and morals.

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Former Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick pleaded not guilty Sept. 3 in a Massachusetts court, where he is facing three counts of sexually assaulting a teenager in the 1970s. He was not taken under custody but was ordered to post $5,000 bail and have no contact with the alleged victim or children. The former high-ranking, globe-trotting church official also was ordered not to leave the country and surrendered his passport. His next court appearance is Oct. 28. The day before the arraignment, a former employee and a former priest of the Archdiocese of Newark filed lawsuits alleging unpermitted sexual contact by McCarrick for incidents in 1991. The Massachusetts case is the first time, however, that McCarrick has faced criminal charges for assault of a minor, which is alleged to first have taken place at a wedding reception in 1974 and continued over the years in different states.

WASHINGTON (CNS) – The “present ills of our economy” invite Catholics to reflect on ways to propose new and creative responses to vital human needs in a post-pandemic world, said Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, in the U.S. bishops’ annual Labor Day statement. Acknowledging that the economy is showing signs of recovery despite the continuing pandemic, Archbishop Coakley said the current time presents an opportunity to “build a consensus around human dignity and the common good.” But despite signs of an economic recovery, he said in the statement released Sept. 2, millions of Americans continue to struggle financially because of unemployment, poverty and hunger made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. “There are still many uncertainties around this pandemic; however, we do know that our society and our world will never be the same,” the archbishop said. Archbishop Coakley credited and thanked the many workers “who have kept our country functioning during these trying times and worked under difficult and often underappreciated conditions.”

VATICAN
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – While financial reforms in the Vatican are progressing steadily, cases involving corruption and malfeasance in the Eternal City are “a disease that we relapse into,” Pope Francis said. In a wide-ranging interview broadcast Sept. 1 by COPE, the Spanish radio station owned by the Spanish bishops’ conference, Pope Francis said changes made in the Vatican’s financial laws have allowed prosecutors to “become more independent” in their investigations. “Let’s hope that these steps we are taking … will help to make these events happen less and less,” he said. During the interview, the pope was asked about the Vatican trial against 10 individuals and entities, including Cardinal Angelo Becciu, former prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, on charges ranging from embezzlement to money laundering and abuse of office. The charges stemmed from a Vatican investigation into how the Secretariat of State used $200 million to finance a property development project in London’s posh Chelsea district and incurred millions of dollars in debt. At the time, then-Archbishop Becciu served as “sostituto,” the No. 3 position in the Vatican Secretariat of State. Cardinal Becciu was forced to offer his resignation to the pope in September 2020, after he was accused of embezzling an estimated 100,000 euros of Vatican funds and redirecting them to Spes, a Caritas organization run by his brother, Tonino Becciu, in his home Diocese of Ozieri, Sardinia.

Father Andrew Liaugminas, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, is seen in this undated photo. He has been appointed to serve as an official for the doctrinal section of the Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. (CNS photo/Handout, courtesy Chicago Catholic)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis offered prayers to the victims and families affected by Hurricane Ida, which devastated the southern and northeastern United States. Pope Francis also offered prayers for countless refugees fleeing Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s Aug. 15 takeover of Kabul and expressed his hope that “many countries will welcome and protect those seeking a new life.” “I assure my prayers for the people of the United States of America who have been hit by a strong hurricane in recent days,” the pope told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square Sept. 5 during his Sunday Angelus address. The Category 4 hurricane made landfall Sept. 1, carrying 150-mph winds in Louisiana and knocking out power, water and cellphone service. The remnants of Hurricane Ida later struck the northeastern United States, causing an estimated 41 deaths and flooding roads in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Connecticut. Speaking about Afghanistan, Pope Francis said he prayer “for the internally displaced persons and that they may receive assistance and the necessary protection,” he said. “May young Afghans receive education, an essential good for human development. And may all Afghans, whether at home, in transit, or in host countries, live with dignity, in peace and fraternity with their neighbors.”

WORLD
BERLIN (CNS) – German bishops are concerned that a decision guaranteeing German health insurers will pay for pregnant women’s blood tests to detect Down syndrome will lead to abortion. Matthias Kopp, spokesman for the German bishops, said that already about 90% of cases in which an embryo has an extra chromosome result in termination of pregnancy, reported the German church news agency KNA. He expressed concern that the prenatal test eventually would be applied on a routine basis. “We as a church are observing with concern that the new, noninvasive prenatal diagnostical test procedure very often does not follow therapeutic aims,” Kopp said. “On the contrary, in the view of the church, these tests promote an alarming trend in the direction of a regular selection.” What was needed was early information, counseling and support in which the issue of termination of pregnancy was not the focal point, he said. A joint federal parliamentary committee gave the approval for the change, which is expected to take effect in the spring of 2022, KNA reported.

LAGOS, Nigeria (CNS) – The Catholic bishops of Nigeria have called on the priests and the lay faithful to make the Eucharist central to the life of the church rather than placing a premium on money or other transient things. In a statement at the end of their weeklong plenary meeting, they also advised priests to always ensure that “monetary matters do not distract the faithful or detract from the solemnity of the celebration.” Priests are to “celebrate the Eucharist as ‘servants’ of the mystery and not ‘masters’ of it,” the bishops said. In their Aug. 27 statement, the bishops also condemned the increasing insecurity and violence in Nigeria and called on the government to show respect for the sanctity of human life with a more strategic commitment to the fight against insecurity. The bishops urged government officials to take full responsibility for the prevailing culture of violence and impunity in Nigeria. “We recognize the efforts being made by government to fight insecurity in the land,” they added, appealing to the citizens to be law-abiding, vigilant, live by sound moral principles and shun violence and crime.

SEOUL, South Korea (CNS) – The mortal remains of the first three Korean Catholic martyrs have been recovered more than two centuries after their deaths, announced the Diocese of Jeonju. Ucanews.com reported that following historical research and DNA tests, it has been confirmed that the remains are of Paul Yun Ji-chung and James Kwon Sang-yeon, both beheaded in 1791, and Yun’s brother, Francis Yun Ji-heon, who was martyred in 1801. Bishop John Kim Son-tae of Jeonju made the announcement during a news conference Sept. 1. During his visit to South Korea in 2014, Pope Francis beatified the three along with 121 other martyrs persecuted and killed during the rule of the Joseon dynasty in Korea. Bishop Kim said the remains were recovered in March in Wanju, on the outskirts of Jeonju, near the burial ground of family members of another beatified person that was being converted to a shrine. “The discovery of the remains is a truly amazing and monumental event,” the bishop said, according to Yonhap News Agency.

A painting depicts 103 Korean martyrs canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1984, seen in this Aug. 19, 2008, photo. The remains of the first three of 124 other Korean martyrs, beatified in 2014, were recently identified. (CNS photo/courtesy Archdiocese of Seoul)