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 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.

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


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)


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.


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 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.”

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. 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)

Post-quake Haiti: Funerals and a daily quest for food, water, shelter

By Tom Tracy
LES CAYES, HAITI – Two weeks after Haiti’s Aug. 14 earthquake, the country’s southwest peninsula is still marked by funerals, aftershocks and a daily search for clean water, food and shelter.

“One of the things that really struck me two weeks out is the number of funerals – everywhere you go there are funerals, as people are burying their loved ones, and it brings a sense of overwhelming grief when that many people pass away; it is very striking,” said Beth Carroll, head of programs for Catholic Relief Services in Haiti.

Carroll said that while visiting Les Cayes Aug. 25, an aftershock sent her running out of a building and triggered many others in the area to “reflexively scream and run out of their homes.”

“People were already stressed about the situation in Haiti, and this (earthquake) has caused added stress for people,” she said, referring to the difficult political, economic and social crisis that has been making life in Haiti almost unbearable for the past two years.

People collect water outside a stadium used as a shelter for earthquake survivors in Les Cayes, Haiti, Aug. 18, 2021. Since the Aug. 14 earthquake, many water systems in the area are damaged and no longer functioning, or the water is dirty and not usable. (CNS photo/Henry Romero, Reuters)

The magnitude 7.2 quake killed more than 2,200 and injured more than 12,200 others. About 130,000 homes were damaged, including 50,000 which were completely destroyed, according to Haiti government estimates.

“It is very visible in the affected communities, where 90% of homes, schools and churches were flattened in the hot spots,” said Carroll. “There is also significant damage which is less visible: a lot of water systems are damaged and no longer functioning, or the water is dirty and not usable.” 

Staffers of CRS, the U.S. bishops’ international relief and development agency, are operating under tarps at a parking lot near their operations center in Les Cayes following damage to their offices.

Following the tragedy, CRS has been focused on distributing emergency shelter and hygiene kits in concert with the Haiti government’s thrust to help Haitians rebuild their lives at home and discourage them from relocating to tent cities or sleeping in the streets.

CRS maintains a stockpile of emergency supplies in-country and has embellished its earthquake response resources with goods from the U.S. military along with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United Nations and World Vision, which works in Haiti but had no presence in the Les Cayes region.

Les Cayes is Haiti’s third-largest city. Carroll said local hospitals and health clinics have done the best they can to treat the injured with their available resources and are moving toward normalcy following the crisis. They also moved many patients to other hospitals in the southern region or to Port-au-Prince.

A major concern in the Les Cayes region is damage to schools and the potential fallout for children, who already have lost significant time in the classroom due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Haiti’s dysfunctional political situation and widespread food insecurity.

“We would really like to see how we can prevent a late start to the school year, and many schools aren’t going to be able to accept children,” Carroll said. “They really can’t afford to miss further class time.”

As U.S. presence in Afghanistan ends, Catholics call to welcome refugees

By Carol Glatz
ROME (CNS) – As Aug. 30 ended in the U.S. and a new day began in a different time zone in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 31, 2021, the U.S. Central Command released a green-tinted photo of a soldier about to get on a cargo plane, a photographic coda to seal the historic moment that put an end to nearly two decades of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.

Though many were quick to call it “the end” of the United States’ longest war, it’s too early to tell what, if any, involvement may continue in the now Taliban-controlled nation since some U.S. citizens remain there.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said “under 200 and likely closer to 100” U.S. citizens are still in Afghanistan.
“We did not get everyone out that we wanted,” said Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command announcing the withdrawal on Aug. 30 in the U.S., reminding reporters listening that it was Aug. 31 in Afghanistan, fulfilling the date the U.S. had set for the withdrawal.

An Afghan man evacuated from Kabul with others walks with a girl after arriving at Naval Station Rota Air Base in Rota, Spain, Aug. 31, 2021. (CNS photo/Jon Nazca, Reuters)

But there are some U.S. citizens in the country, he said, who because of family or other ties, did not want to leave Afghanistan. Others were not able to make it to the airport in time for the last U.S. plane out.

The administration of President George W. Bush sent troops to Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that left 2,996 dead on U.S. soil, trying to pin down al-Qaida militants who planned the hijacking of airplanes, including Osama bin Laden, who was believed to be in and out of Afghanistan hiding with help from the Taliban.

U.S. troops remained there under previous administrations from both political parties and in October 2020, President Donald Trump tweeted that he would withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Christmas. President Joe Biden continued with the plan but with a different timeline. However, analysts have blamed the four previous administrations – from George W. Bush to Biden’s – with the unfolding drama.

Gen. McKenzie said U.S. military had evacuated 79,000, including 6,000 U.S. citizens from the Kabul airport since Aug. 14, after the Afghan military collapsed following the imminent withdrawal of U.S. troops and contractors.

“The evacuation from Kabul is coming to an end. A larger crisis is just beginning,” warned the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on Aug. 30.

“The evacuation effort has undoubtedly saved tens of thousands of lives, and these efforts are praiseworthy. But when the airlift and the media frenzy are over, the overwhelming majority of Afghans, some 39 million, will remain inside Afghanistan. They need us – governments, humanitarians, ordinary citizens – to stay with them and stay the course,” Grandi said in a statement.

Catholics in the U.S. joined faith leaders from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, who, in an Aug. 30 letter, urged Biden to “take full responsibility for protecting the lives of thousands of Afghan allies that worked alongside U.S. forces, as well as provide robust protections for vulnerable populations in Afghanistan…”

As the Biden administration pivoted its future in Afghanistan from a military operation to a diplomatic one, the interfaith coalition urged the U.S. government to help.

“If ‘human rights must be at the center of our foreign policy, not the periphery,’ as you stated in (your) address to the American people and to the world, the United States must stand behind its promises…,” the interfaith coalition said in its statement.

“We are called by our sacred texts to love our neighbor, accompany the vulnerable, and welcome the sojourner… Our places of worship and faith communities stand ready to welcome all Afghans in need of refuge,” the group added.

Nación y Mundo en fotos


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CNS) – Con varios estados del noreste que ahora se unen a las principales regiones metropolitanas de la costa del Golfo como áreas de desastre relacionadas con el huracán Ida, las agencias de Caridades Católicas están utilizando sistemas de implementación virtual refinados durante la pandemia de coronavirus para maximizar su alcance a las personas en necesidad. Los cortes de energía prolongados o las inundaciones récord están haciendo que el acceso rápido a la respuesta ante desastres a las áreas de Nueva Orleans y la ciudad de Nueva York sea una imposibilidad luego de los restos del huracán Ida hacia el norte después de tocar tierra el 29 de agosto en Louisiana. Como lo hizo durante el huracán Katrina, se espera que Caridades Católicas en la Diócesis de Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sirva como el papel central de apoyo en los esfuerzos de recuperación en Nueva Orleans y Houma-Thibodaux.

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Los “males actuales de nuestra economía” invitan a los católicos a reflexionar sobre formas de proponer respuestas nuevas y creativas a las necesidades humanas vitales en un mundo post-pandémico, dijo el arzobispo Paul S. Coakley de Oklahoma City, presidente de la Comité de Obispos de EE. UU. sobre Justicia Doméstica y Desarrollo Humano, en la declaración anual del Día del Trabajo de los obispos de EE. UU. Pero a pesar de las señales de recuperación económica, dijo en comunicado del 2 de septiembre, millones de estadounidenses continúan luchando financieramente debido al desempleo, la pobreza y el hambre agravados por la pandemia del coronavirus. El arzobispo Coakley reconoció y agradeció a los muchos trabajadores “que han mantenido nuestro país funcionando durante estos tiempos difíciles. También oramos por aquellos que perdieron o continúan sin recursos o ingresos.”


LES CAYES, Haití (CNS) – Semanas después del terremoto del 14 de agosto en Haití, la península suroeste del país todavía está marcada por funerales, réplicas y una búsqueda diaria de agua potable, comida y refugio. La gente ya estaba estresada por la situación en Haití, y el terremoto ha causado un estrés adicional a la gente además de la difícil crisis política, económica y social que ha hecho que la vida en Haití sea casi insoportable durante los últimos dos años.

CIUDAD DE MÉXICO (CNS) – El ministerio de migrantes de los obispos mexicanos ha desautorizado una propuesta del Instituto Nacional de Inmigración de México que establecería un campamento para migrantes y solicitantes de asilo atrapados en la ciudad sureña de Tapachula, cerca de la frontera con Guatemala. El tema parece haber generado cierta confusión. En un breve comunicado emitido el 2 de septiembre, el ministerio de obispos dijo que la idea de un campamento para haitianos en Tapachula fue propuesta públicamente al ministerio de migrantes durante una conferencia sobre migración “sin que exista ningún acuerdo o aceptación sobre este tema. En respuesta al Instituto Nacional de Inmigración, la oficina de México del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados dijo en un tuit del 2 que “el tema de los haitianos es complicado”.

Migrantes y solicitantes de asilo de Centroamérica y el Caribe caminan en caravana en Tapachula, México, el 28 de agosto de 2021. Se dirigen a la capital mexicana para solicitar asilo y estatus de refugiado. (Foto del CNS / José Torres, Reuters)
Las víctimas del terremoto esperan en la fila para recibir alimentos proporcionados por el Programa Mundial de Alimentos en una escuela en Port Salut, Haití, el 24 de agosto de 2021 (foto del CNS / Ricardo Arduengo, Reuters)
Una manta cuelga afuera de una casa Jean Lafitte, Luisiana, 2 de septiembre de 2021, luego de la llegada del huracán Ida. La manta dice “Ida, por favor, ten piedad de Luisiana”. (Foto del CNS / Marco Bello, Reuters)
Los socorristas en Mamaroneck, Nueva York, llevan a los residentes locales en un bote el 2 de septiembre de 2021, mientras rescatan a las personas atrapadas por las inundaciones después de los restos de la tormenta tropical Ida. (Foto del CNS / Mike Segar, Reuters)

Te extraño Papi, te amo (I miss you daddy, love you)” Un mensaje a un ser querido se ve cerca de la piscina reflectante en el Memorial del 11 de septiembre en la ciudad de Nueva York el 11 de septiembre de 2010. (Foto del CNS / John Angelillo, Pool vía Reuters)

Un hombre mira hacia un edificio dañado a raíz de un terremoto en Acapulco, México, el 8 de septiembre de 2021. (Foto del CNS / Edgard Garrido, Reuters)

Con el fin de la presencia de Estados Unidos en Afganistán, los católicos piden dar la bienvenida a los refugiados

Por Rhina Guidos Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Cuando terminó el 30 de agosto en los EE. UU. Y comenzó un nuevo día en una zona horaria diferente en Kabul, Afganistán, el 31 de agosto de 2021, el Comando Central de EE. UU. Publicó una foto teñida de verde de un soldado sobre Subirse a un avión de carga, una coda fotográfica para sellar el momento histórico que puso fin a casi dos décadas de presencia militar estadounidense en Afganistán.

Aunque muchos se apresuraron a llamarlo “el final” de la guerra más larga de Estados Unidos, es demasiado pronto para decir qué participación, si es que hay alguna, puede continuar en la nación ahora controlada por los talibanes, ya que algunos ciudadanos estadounidenses permanecen allí.

El secretario de Estado de Estados Unidos, Antony Blinken, dijo que “menos de 200 y probablemente más de 100″ ciudadanos estadounidenses todavía están en Afganistán.”No sacamos a todos los que queríamos”, dijo el general Kenneth McKenzie, jefe del Comando Central de Estados Unidos al anunciar la retirada el 30 de agosto en Estados Unidos, recordando a los periodistas que escuchaban que era el 31 de agosto en Afganistán, cumpliendo la fecha en que Estados Unidos se había propuesto la retirada.

Pero hay algunos ciudadanos estadounidenses en el país, dijo, que debido a lazos familiares u otros, no querían salir de Afganistán. Otros no pudieron llegar al aeropuerto a tiempo para el último avión estadounidense.

La administración del presidente George W. Bush envió tropas a Afganistán después de los ataques del 11 de septiembre de 2001 que dejaron 2.996 muertos en suelo estadounidense, tratando de detener a militantes de al-Qaida que planeaban el secuestro de aviones, incluido Osama bin Laden, quien Se creía que entraba y salía de Afganistán escondiéndose con la ayuda de los talibanes.

Las tropas estadounidenses permanecieron allí bajo administraciones anteriores de ambos partidos políticos y, en octubre de 2020, el presidente Donald Trump tuiteó que retiraría las tropas estadounidenses de Afganistán para Navidad. El presidente Joe Biden continuó con el plan pero con un cronograma diferente. Sin embargo, los analistas han culpado a las cuatro administraciones anteriores, desde George W. Bush hasta la de Biden, por el drama que se desarrolla. El general McKenzie dijo que el ejército estadounidense había evacuado a 79.000, incluidos 6.000 ciudadanos estadounidenses del aeropuerto de Kabul desde el 14 de agosto, después de que el ejército afgano colapsara tras la inminente retirada de las tropas y contratistas estadounidenses.

 “La evacuación de Kabul está llegando a su fin. Una crisis mayor apenas está comenzando”, advirtió el 30 de agosto el Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados, Filippo Grandi. “El esfuerzo de evacuación sin duda ha salvado decenas de miles de vidas, y estos esfuerzos son dignos de elogio. Pero cuando el puente aéreo y el frenesí de los medios de comunicación terminen, la abrumadora mayoría de afganos, unos 39 millones, permanecerán en Afganistán. Nos necesitan … gobiernos, trabajadores humanitarios, ciudadanos comunes, para permanecer con ellos y mantener el rumbo “, dijo Grandi en un comunicado.

Los católicos en los EE. UU. se unieron a los líderes religiosos de la Coalición Interreligiosa de Inmigración, quienes, en una carta del 30 de agosto, instaron a Biden a “asumir la plena responsabilidad de proteger las vidas de miles de aliados afganos que trabajaron junto a las fuerzas estadounidenses, así como brindar protecciones sólidas para las poblaciones vulnerables en Afganistán … “

A medida que la administración Biden cambió su futuro en Afganistán de una operación militar a una diplomática, la coalición interreligiosa instó al gobierno de Estados Unidos a ayudar. “Si ‘los derechos humanos deben estar en el centro de nuestra política exterior, no en la periferia’, como usted declaró en (su) discurso al pueblo estadounidense y al mundo, Estados Unidos debe respaldar sus promesas …” dijo la coalición interreligiosa en su declaración.

“Nuestros textos sagrados nos llaman a amar a nuestro prójimo, acompañar a los vulnerables y dar la bienvenida al extranjero … Nuestros lugares de culto y comunidades de fe están listos para recibir a todos los afganos que necesitan refugio”, agregó el grupo.

Refugiados afganos en el Aeropuerto Internacional de Dulles en Virginia, esperando abordar los autobuses que los llevarán a un centro de procesamiento el 2 de septiembre de 2021 (foto del CNS / Evelyn Hockstein, Reuters).

Otros, como la organización católica Pax Christi USA, criticaron a la administración Biden por un ataque con drones el 29 de agosto contra presuntos terroristas suicidas, que resultó en explosiones que provocaron la muerte de 10 civiles, incluidos niños.”Pax Christi USA pide a la administración de Biden que cese el uso de drones letales”, dijo el director ejecutivo de la organización, Johnny Zokovitch, en un comunicado el 30 de agosto.

“Esas matanzas indiscriminadas solo fomentan el ciclo de violencia, socavan la seguridad humana real y traumatizan a los supervivientes. Lo que estamos viendo ahora después de 20 años de ocupación militar en Afganistán debería, como mínimo, hacer que nuestros líderes se detengan y se pregunten con qué fin más armas, más bombas y más muerte conducirán “. La administración ordenó el ataque después de que explosiones cerca del aeropuerto de Kabul, llevadas a cabo por terroristas suicidas, mataran a 13 miembros del servicio estadounidense el 26 de agosto.

En un discurso televisado al final de la tarde del 31 de agosto, Biden dijo: “era hora de poner fin a esta guerra” en Afganistán hace mucho tiempo. Era algo que los presidentes anteriores habían prometido pero no cumplieron. “Me negué a abrir otra década de guerra en Afganistán”, dijo, y agregó que no quería “enviar otra generación de hijos e hijas estadounidenses a pelear una guerra que debería haberse hecho hace mucho tiempo”.

Los asesores civiles y militares le aconsejaron que pusiera fin a esta guerra, ya que no servía a ningún interés vital para Estados Unidos, dijo, que en un momento se había asegurado de que Afganistán no pudiera ser utilizado por quienes querían atacar a Estados Unidos. “Le hicimos justicia a Bin Laden, Al Qaeda fue diezmada”, dijo. También asumió la propiedad y la responsabilidad de su decisión.

Refugiados afganos en el Aeropuerto Internacional de Dulles en Virginia, esperando abordar los autobuses que los llevarán a un centro de procesamiento el 2 de septiembre de 2021 (foto del CNS / Evelyn Hockstein, Reuters).

“Ahora que cerramos 20 años de guerra, luchas, dolor y sacrificio, es hora de mirar hacia el futuro, no hacia el pasado”, dijo. “Doy mi palabra con todo mi corazón: creo que esta es la decisión correcta, una decisión sabia y la mejor decisión para Estados Unidos”.


Olympic briefs

SCOTCH PLAINS (CNS) – When U.S. runner Sydney McLaughlin crossed the finish line to win the gold in the 400-meter hurdles Aug. 3 in Tokyo, she had the cheers of fans supporting her from the New Jersey Catholic high school where she graduated four years ago. Fans at the watch party at Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains jumped up and down and cheered for their fellow alumnae who broke her own world record in the event and narrowly beat fellow U.S. teammate Dalilah Muhammad, who was the defending title-winner in this event. Another local watch party was taking place in McLaughlin’s hometown of Dunellen, New Jersey. McLaughlin began her quest to win the gold medal in the event at the Summer Games when she smashed the world record in the 400-meter hurdles at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June. McLaughlin, who turns 22 Aug. 7, stunned the track and field world as a 16-year-old student at Union Catholic when she made the U.S. team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. On July 27, the last night of the U.S. Olympic Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. She became the first woman to run the 400 hurdles in under 52 seconds – she set a new world record of 51.90.

U.S. runner and gold medalist Sydney McLaughlin celebrates Aug. 4, 2021, after breaking the world record to win the women’ 400-meter hurdles final at Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. (CNS photo/Lucy Nicholson, Reuters)

TOKYO (CNS) – Hidilyn Diaz became the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal winner, set an Olympic record – and thanked her friends who prayed the Miraculous Medal novena. In a virtual news conference, the 30-year-old said she also prayed the novena and wore the medal. After winning July 26, the four-time Olympian praised God and lifted up Our Lady’s Miraculous Medal from around her neck while repeatedly shouting “Thank You, Lord,” reported the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines News. That gesture by Diaz went viral, CBCP News reported. After her win in the women’s 55-kg weightlifting – she had an overall lift of 224 kilograms – more than 493 pounds – she told the virtual news conference about the Miraculous Medal. “It is a sign of … my faith to Mama Mary and Jesus Christ,” she said. In a statement, Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao congratulated Diaz on behalf of the Philippine bishops. “Her victory was captured through many lenses, and in one of those photos was her holding the gold medal and wearing a Miraculous Medal of Our Lady on her chest. We admire her devotion to the Blessed Mother as she carried in her victory her great faith in God. Hidilyn is a true weightlifter who draws her strength from her love for the country and a deep Catholic faith,” the archbishop said. “Congratulations, Hidilyn! May the Lord continue to bless you with perseverance.”

Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines poses with her gold medal and Miraculous Medal after winning the gold in women’s weightlifting at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics July 26, 2021. Diaz became the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal winner and set an Olympic record. (CNS photo/Hidilyn Diaz, Instagram, via CBCP News) Editors: best quality available from source.

WASHINGTON (CNS) – After a week of historic and electrifying swimming events at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, two Catholic Olympians will return to their hometown of Bethesda having proudly represented their parish community, their schools and the USA. Katie Ledecky won two gold and two silver medals, and Phoebe Bacon had a strong fifth-place finish in the 200-meter backstroke. Both Olympic athletes attended Little Flower School in Bethesda, in the Washington Archdiocese, and are alumnae of Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, also in Bethesda. Three-time Olympian Ledecky, 24, now a 10-time Olympic medalist, is one of the most decorated female U.S. Olympians ever and also one of the most dominant female swimmers in history. One gold in Tokyo was for coming in first in what was a first: the Olympics inaugural women’s 1,500-meter freestyle swim July 28. Her other gold was her seventh gold in what is her signature event: the 800-meter freestyle race. “What a thrill it has been to watch Katie and Phoebe compete this week. Stone Ridge is incredibly proud of these alumnae athletes, not only for what they accomplish in the sport of swimming, but for the values and character they represent,” said Catherine Ronan Karrels, head of Stone Ridge School. “I am so proud of how they both swam in these Olympic games and how they represented the USA,” she said.

Katie Ledecky of the United States gets ready enter the pool for the women’s 1,500-meter freestyle final during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics July 28, 2021. The 2015 graduate of the Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Md., won the gold medal in the Olympic debut of the event. (CNS photo/Marko Djurica, Reuters)

WASHINGTON (CNS) – As indoor mask mandates are returning in areas of the country hard hit by a new wave of the coronavirus, U.S. bishops have been informing their dioceses of this new policy impacting Masses, Catholic schools and church events. This is particularly true in Louisiana where bishops have been announcing this change in letters to their respective dioceses or public announcements the first week of August. Their announcements followed the Aug. 2 statewide mask mandate issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards requiring anyone age 5 and up to wear a mask indoors in K-12 schools, businesses, universities and churches as the state tries to bring down the rising number of COVID-19 infections. The mandate is in effect until at least Sept. 1. Louisiana is currently experiencing the worst outbreak of new COVID-19 cases per capita in the nation, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also is having record hospitalizations due to the impact of the Delta variant of the coronavirus particularly affecting the state’s unvaccinated. Despite a recent surge in vaccinations, only 37.2% of its residents were fully vaccinated as of Aug. 4. The state mask mandate also impacts Catholic schools that have already begun opening in some parts of the state.
ST. MICHAEL, Minn (CNS) – It’s doubtful anyone matched Daniel Markham’s driving distance for the 6 p.m. Sunday Mass June 13 at St. Michael in St. Michael. He came all the way from Tinley Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, on a journey that began two days earlier, winding through Wichita, Kansas, and heading north through Iowa to the Twin Cities – all because of a phone conversation with the parish business administrator at St. Michael, Dave Ferry. Five years ago, Markham decided he wanted to attend Mass in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. After several years of waiting, dreaming, and planning, he got going the weekend of June 5 and 6 when he visited two states on the East Coast, Connecticut and New Hampshire. After coming back to his home in Tinley Park, he went to Wichita for a Mass June 12 and hopped in his car the next morning to drive to St. Michael. The day after Mass there, he went even farther north to visit Extreme Faith Camp near Pine River, about two hours north of the Twin Cities. Markham plans to write a book after finishing all 52 visits, with the last one taking place in July 2022. It will recount his visits not just to parishes but to ministries and organizations that intrigue him.

Daniel Markham prays during Mass at St. Michael Catholic Church in St. Michael, Minn., June 13, 2021. Markham is traveling around the U.S. on what he calls a “52 Masses” tour. (CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Saying he was acting for the good of the unity of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis restored limits on the celebration of the Mass according to the Roman Missal in use before the Second Vatican Council, overturning or severely restricting permissions St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI had given to celebrate the so-called Tridentine-rite Mass. “An opportunity offered by St. John Paul II and, with even greater magnanimity by Benedict XVI, intended to recover the unity of an ecclesial body with diverse liturgical sensibilities, was exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences and encourage disagreements that injure the church, block her path and expose her to the peril of division,” Pope Francis wrote in a letter to bishops July 16. The text accompanies his apostolic letter “Traditionis Custodes” (Guardians of the Tradition), declaring the liturgical books promulgated after the Second Vatican Council to be “the unique expression of the ‘lex orandi’ (law of worship) of the Roman Rite,” restoring the obligation of priests to have their bishops’ permission to celebrate according to the “extraordinary” or pre-Vatican II Mass and ordering bishops not to establish any new groups or parishes in their dioceses devoted to the old liturgy. Priests currently celebrating Mass according to the old missal must request authorization from their bishop to continue doing so, Pope Francis ordered, and for any priest ordained after the document’s publication July 16, the bishop must consult with the Vatican before granting authorization.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Jesus wants to nourish the souls of those who are spiritually famished from the loneliness and anguish that come from life’s difficulties, Pope Francis said. “What does he not want? To be relegated to being considered a side dish – he who is bread – to be overlooked and set aside, or called on only when we need him,” the pope told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square Aug. 8 during his Sunday Angelus address. The pope reflected on the Sunday Gospel reading from St. John in which Jesus responded to those who doubted that he was the “bread that came down from heaven.” “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die,” Jesus said. Commenting on the passage, Pope Francis said bread is a basic necessity needed for survival, especially by the hungry who “do not ask for refined and expensive food, they ask for bread.” “Jesus reveals himself as bread, that is, the essential, what is necessary for everyday life; without him nothing works,” the pope said. “He is not one bread among many others, but the bread of life,” he said.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Hours before the Taliban took control of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, Pope Francis expressed his hope for the peace and safety of the country’s citizens. “I join in the unanimous concern for the situation in Afghanistan. I ask all of you to pray with me to the God of peace, so that the clamor of weapons might cease and solutions can be found at the table of dialogue,” the pope said Aug. 15 during his Angelus address. Only through dialogue, he added, “can the battered population of that country – men, women, elderly and children – return to their own homes, and live in peace and security, in total mutual respect.” The Taliban, an extremist Islamic movement that ruled Afghanistan until ousted by a U.S.-led coalition nearly 20 years ago, began taking over large swaths of the country as U.S. forces withdrew. According to The Associated Press, Taliban fighters entered the presidential palace after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.

SYDNEY (CNS) – Sydney catechist Caroline Fisher says writing a successful book for Catholic children has helped her spread a message of true love “too good” to keep to herself. The mother of three said her picture book, “Jesus Had a Body Like Me: A Theology of the Body for Babies and Little Ones,” is aimed not just at children but at those who read to them. She is passionate about sharing with readers that each of them is a gift, every soul is sacred and, to truly nourish the body, one must also nourish the spirit within. “God doesn’t make mistakes, and each of us matters to God and has been ‘fearfully and wonderfully’ made in his image and likeness for a purpose only we can fulfill, and nobody else,” Fisher told The Catholic Weekly, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Sydney. “If only people knew this and understood the reasons behind what the Catholic Church tells us what to do and what not to do, we would not see the levels of suicide, despair and hopelessness we are seeing in our society. “Teenagers in particular need to know this, but it’s never too early to connect the dots.” Illustrated by Kama Towcik, the book is based on the theology of the body teachings of St. John Paul II and aims to communicate the message of God’s self-sacrificing love to babies and the very youngest of readers.blessings of the Holy Family. … “We resort to the Holy Family and place under their feet our pain, anxiety, weakness and hopes.”

LES CAYES, Haiti (CNS) – The magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck Haiti collapsed the bishop’s residence in Les Cayes, killing one priest, leaving one missing and injuring Cardinal Chibly Langlois. Father Emile Beldor died of his injuries after the Aug. 14 quake. Father Jean-Antoine Coulanges is reported missing. Cardinal Langlois sustained arm and leg injuries; church sources say his life is not in danger. Voice of America reported that 18 people, assembled for a baptism, were killed in Immaculate Conception Parish church of Les Anglais. The Haitian civil protection service reported late Aug. 15 that nearly 1,300 people had been killed, more than 5,700 were injured and more than 30,250 families needed shelter. Those numbers were expected to rise as a tropical depression headed toward the island. The civil protection agency warned people to expect strong winds, landslides and flooding in addition to heavy rain and rough seas. At the Vatican Aug. 15, Pope Francis expressed his condolences and closeness to the Haitian people. “While I lift up my prayer to the Lord for the victims, I extend my word of encouragement to the survivors, hoping that the interest of the international community to help might move toward them,” the pope said during his Angelus address.

An injured woman is assisted in Les Cayes, Haiti, Aug. 15, 2021, following magnitude 7.2 earthquake the previous day. (CNS photo/Estailove St-Val, Reuters)

Polish pilgrims mark anniversary of attempt to assassinate St. John Paul

By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – An elderly man stood alone in St. Peter’s Square May 13, using his wooden rosary beads to pray by a simple plaque marking the place where St. John Paul II was shot exactly 40 years earlier.
The man soon was joined by members of “Polska w Sercu” (Polish at Heart), a group of Polish Catholics who have lived for years in Rome but have not forgotten their homeland or their beloved pope.
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who served for more than three decades as personal secretary to the late pope, arrived to process with the group to the plaque where someone already had placed two red roses. They added a bouquet of gerbera daisies – red and white – the colors of the Polish flag.
Cardinal Dziwisz had begun marking the anniversary of the May 13, 1981, assassination attempt by concelebrating Mass with Cardinal Konrad Krajewski and dozens of Polish priests at the tomb of St. John Paul in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Remembering how Mehmet Ali Agca shot and “almost mortally wounded” St. John Paul, “I still can feel his body slip as if paralyzed and fall into my arms,” Cardinal Dziwisz said in his homily. “I see his blood dripping onto his white pontifical cassock, staining my hands and clothes. I also hear a continual, fainter and fainter, repetition of the invocation, ‘O Mary, O my Mother!'”

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the former secretary of St. John Paul II, looks at the spot of the May 13, 1981, assassination attempt against the Polish pope, after placing flowers in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican May 13, 2021. Cardinal Dziwisz and a small group of Catholics gathered in the square to mark the 40th anniversary of the shooting. In 1981 then-Msgr. Dziwisz cradled the pope after the shooting. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“How difficult it is to forget the bang of the would-be assassin’s gunshots, which in a single moment could have put an end to this extraordinary pontificate,” the cardinal said, thanking the medical personnel who saved his life and the people all over the world who prayed for his recovery.
“Today, 40 years after that event, and 16 years” after his death, “I think with fear of what it would have been like if we had lost him in St. Peter’s Square back then,” he said. “How poor and different the world and our homeland, Poland, would have been without his witness of faith and doctrine, without his indications and his warnings in the face of the dangers and turmoil that can threaten us in today’s world.”
Noting the day’s feast of Our Lady of Fatima and St. John Paul’s conviction that she saved his life, Cardinal Dziwisz also turned to Our Lady of Fatima with “a trusting prayer for the world fighting against the coronavirus pandemic,” for a greater commitment to keeping the Ten Commandments and following the beatitudes “and, finally, for fidelity to the teachings and mission left to us by St. John Paul II the Great.”