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Woman religious in war-torn Syria focuses on rebuilding, healing

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 1:42pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

By

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Sister Annie Demerjian has seen a lifetime of suffering in Aleppo, Syria, over the past seven years. Now, as conflict is beginning to die down, her ministry is no longer about getting emergency supplies to those in need as buildings collapsed and food, water and electricity were scarce. The current challenge is to help people begin to rebuild their lives.

"We are now living the consequences" of years of civil war, she said.

As the Syrian city finds its way out of the rubble, Sister Annie and three other Sisters of Jesus and Mary are at work, reopening garment factories and helping people find jobs and develop job skills.

"Before, we were living day by day or minute by minute," she said, stressing that she and the other sisters never knew when bombs would fall or who would die next.

"It was a big fear," the 52-year-old sister said in Washington Nov. 27. She was visiting to attend a Nov. 28 prayer service -- sponsored by Aid to the Church in Need-USA -- honoring today's Christian martyrs at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. She planned to speak to the congregation about enormous suffering in the region and the task of rebuilding.

"Every part of my country has a story to tell, a story that reveals wounds that only time and God's mercy can heal," she said, stressing that the current situation primarily involves "recovering from this heavy burden." Many are mourning those who died and those who fled; children, in particular, have witnessed horrific violence or lost limbs due to explosions and face the "long process of healing."

The death toll from this war is staggering. Earlier this year, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 511,000 people had been killed since fighting began in Syria in March 2011.

The U.N. Refugee Agency said 5.6 million Syrians have left the country and 6.6 million are internally displaced since the war began.

Of those who remain, millions need humanitarian assistance and health care. More than 86,000 lost limbs. Sister Annie said children in particular are suffering, especially the 3 million born during the war who only know of violent destruction. More than 20,000 children were killed in the war, and 2.8 million children have been uprooted from their family homes, she added.

When the fighting first began, Sister Annie and four other sisters in Aleppo who were teaching at the time were told by their provincial that they could leave. They chose to stay, saying they had lived there in good times and would stay during bad times.

"For us it's been a very painful experience, but to be present makes a difference for us and our people," she told Catholic News Service.

And now, she said, the focus is on "supporting our people and letting them stand in dignity to start a new life," stressing that the easier part is the physical rebuilding. "Rebuilding the heart and soul" is the bigger challenge.

She also knows that news about the war in Syria has fallen off the radar for many people.

"At the beginning the news was all about Syria; now there is no news about Syria. It seems like it's finished," she said, stressing, "It's not finished, of course."

In prepared remarks for the vespers service, Sister Annie likened the situation in Syria to someone recovering from a serious operation.

"One thing is the actual experience of the surgery; another thing is the long period of time needed to recover. Syria and its people are, we hope and pray, about to enter the recovery period. It will be long and challenging. It will need much help from friends and neighbors; it will need much patience from the people themselves and the determination to rebuild their lives."

She told CNS that she feels more people need to be aware of the current situation in Syria. She compared it to the words of St. Paul when he said: "If one part of the body is suffering, the whole body is suffering."

"We need to be aware," she said. "We can't just turn the channel" and look away.

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Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Catholic groups pledge to make church's voice heard at climate conference

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 11:47am

IMAGE: CNS photo/Arnd Wiegmann, Reuters

By Jonathan Luxmoore

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- As government delegations from across the globe prepare for a Dec. 2-14 U.N. conference on climate change, Catholic organizations are pledging to make the church's voice heard.

CIDSE, a network of 17 Catholic development agencies from Europe and North America based in Brussels, joined other Catholic aid organizations in Katowice, Poland, for the 24th U.N. Climate Change Conference, which was expected to propose measures for restricting temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

"Over the past year, there have been fears of a loss of energy -- that ambition and commitment are being deflated by the magnitude of the tasks ahead," said Josianne Gauthier, CIDSE secretary-general. "But we've been called out by the world's most vulnerable countries to make the bold changes needed to restrict global warming -- not by seeking the lowest common denominator, but by joining in courageous actions."

The Canadian Catholic told Catholic News Service Nov. 26 that Catholic campaigners would press the conference to maintain a "comprehensive rights approach to climate change," rather than merely focusing on "technical questions."

Adriana Opromolla, international advocacy officer for Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based federation of 164 Catholic charities, said Catholic groups "want an open, transparent dialogue on the global common good, not just a preoccupation with the interests of certain countries."

"While governments have to comply with global emission reduction goals, actors below government level can also have a major impact with a shared vision for reversing current trends," said Opromolla. "What absolutely cannot happen is that we just continue with business as usual."

"We've seen a growing interest in the Catholic Church as a moral leader and globally recognized authority, so I've no doubt its voice will be listened to," she said.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, and Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for the Promoting Integral Human Development, will lead a delegation from the Holy See.

In an Oct. 26 statement, church leaders from five continents called for the conference to be a "milestone on the path set out in 2015," by encouraging "urgency, intergenerational justice, human dignity and human rights."

They added that Pope Francis had demanded "rapid and radical changes" in his 2015 encyclical "Laudato Si', on Care for our Common Home." They called on countries with heavy carbon emissions to "take political accountability and meet their climate finance commitments."

The statement said the Catholic Church worldwide was now supporting a "shift toward more sustainable communities and lifestyles," including disinvestment from fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy, and was "rethinking the agriculture sector" to promote agro-ecology.

"We must resist the temptation to look for solutions to our current situation in short-term technological fixes without addressing the root causes and the long-term consequences," said the signers, who included Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, president of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, and Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogota, Colombia, president of the Latin American bishops' council. Their counterparts from Europe, Africa and Oceania also signed the letter.

The bishops' statement was welcomed as a "strong indication" of global Catholic commitment to climate justice by Tomas Insua, director of the Boston-based Global Catholic Climate Movement, who said he counted on political leaders to "take up the challenge" when "every notch in the global thermometer is a tragedy for the most vulnerable."

Gauthier also welcomed the statement's support for "deep societal change," adding that Catholic experts would work with representatives of other religions at Katowice to "make noise and instill hope" around the shared goals of "justice, dignity and care for creation."

"I think there's a thirst for another kind of discourse now, something less technical and with a more human face. This is where churches and religious communities can offer vital help," she added.

A U.N. website statement said the conference's main objective would be to adopt implementation guidelines for the 1.5-degree limit adopted under a 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

It added that the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had recently warned net carbon dioxide emissions must reach zero by 2050 to meet the Paris target, thus reducing "the risks to human well-being, ecosystems and sustainable development."

In a Nov. 22 report, the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization said levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, had reached a new record high, driving increases in sea levels, ocean acidification and more extreme weather, with "no sign of a reversal in the trend."

A separate Nov. 27 emissions report by the U.N. Environment Programme tracked policy commitments by countries to reduce emissions and said these were trailing behind official targets.

 

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Vatican official: Prohibit 'killer robots' now before they become reality

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 10:52am

IMAGE: REUTERS

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis will have St. Francis of Assisi on his mind when he visits Abu Dhabi Feb. 3-5 and Morocco in late March.

As he told ambassadors to the Holy See early in January, "These represent two important opportunities to advance interreligious dialogue and mutual understanding between the followers of both religions (Christianity and Islam) in this year that marks the 800th anniversary of the historic meeting between St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil" of Egypt.

The anniversary has a special meaning in the United Arab Emirates, which along with Oman and Yemen, are served by the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia, a church jurisdiction entrusted to the Capuchin Franciscans.

Most of the 65 priests who work in the vicariate and Bishop Paul Hinder, the apostolic vicar, are Capuchins.

The order's website -- ofmcap.org -- has a special page dedicated to the pope's visit to Abu Dhabi, which begins by noting: "This year marks the 800th anniversary of the visit of St. Francis of Assisi to the sultan of Egypt."

Father Michael A. Perry, minister general of the Franciscans, issued a long letter about the anniversary in early January, describing how St. Francis traveled to Egypt during the Crusades, arriving at "the camp of the crusading army, among Latin Christians who through years of preaching and the rhetoric of holy war had been taught to scorn Muslims. Those same Muslims had every reason to scorn Francis, assuming that he, like most in the crusader camp, was an enemy and not a bearer of peace."

Yet, Father Perry wrote, "we today celebrate what no one at that moment could have foreseen: that a Spirit-filled man with nothing of his own crossed the battle lines unarmed to request a meeting with the sultan, was received with grace by that sultan, enjoyed an extended period of hospitality with the Muslim leader and emerged from the visit to reflect anew on the mission of the Friars Minor."

In 2019, the minister general said, Franciscans should renew their commitment to walking "together with Muslims and people of all faiths as fellow travelers, as builders of civility, and most fundamentally, as sisters and brothers, children of Abraham, our father in faith."

He called on all the order's members "to celebrate this anniversary as a moment when the light of the Gospel can open one's heart to see the 'imago Dei' (image of God) in a person one regards with fear and distrust, or even worse, in a person one has been urged to hate."

"We live in a time when people of various faiths traffic on the demonization of Muslims and incite others to fear them," Father Perry said.

Beyond just studying and praying about dialogue, he said, "I encourage followers of Francis who lack much personal exposure to Islam to recall the experience of our founder by taking a simple and concrete step: meet a Muslim. Get to know him or her, beyond the pleasantries of a cup of tea and social nicety. Try to learn and appreciate what experience of God animates him or her and allow your Muslim friend to see the love God has poured into your heart through Christ."

Father Perry also recognized that some Franciscans live in lands where they are a minority and find themselves "caught up in political and sectarian strife and may feel the threat of violence." But he urged them to hold firm to St. Francis' conviction that God is patient and follows a timetable no human being could understand.

"Amid the groanings of the world for interreligious understanding," he wrote, "may our humble, patient and merciful God show all of us the deeds and words that are most pleasing to God."

 

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Pope looks back 800 years to St. Francis' dialogue with Muslim sultan

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 10:52am

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis will have St. Francis of Assisi on his mind when he visits Abu Dhabi Feb. 3-5 and Morocco in late March.

As he told ambassadors to the Holy See early in January, "These represent two important opportunities to advance interreligious dialogue and mutual understanding between the followers of both religions (Christianity and Islam) in this year that marks the 800th anniversary of the historic meeting between St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil" of Egypt.

The anniversary has a special meaning in the United Arab Emirates, which along with Oman and Yemen, are served by the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia, a church jurisdiction entrusted to the Capuchin Franciscans.

Most of the 65 priests who work in the vicariate and Bishop Paul Hinder, the apostolic vicar, are Capuchins.

The order's website -- ofmcap.org -- has a special page dedicated to the pope's visit to Abu Dhabi, which begins by noting: "This year marks the 800th anniversary of the visit of St. Francis of Assisi to the sultan of Egypt."

Father Michael A. Perry, minister general of the Franciscans, issued a long letter about the anniversary in early January, describing how St. Francis traveled to Egypt during the Crusades, arriving at "the camp of the crusading army, among Latin Christians who through years of preaching and the rhetoric of holy war had been taught to scorn Muslims. Those same Muslims had every reason to scorn Francis, assuming that he, like most in the crusader camp, was an enemy and not a bearer of peace."

Yet, Father Perry wrote, "we today celebrate what no one at that moment could have foreseen: that a Spirit-filled man with nothing of his own crossed the battle lines unarmed to request a meeting with the sultan, was received with grace by that sultan, enjoyed an extended period of hospitality with the Muslim leader and emerged from the visit to reflect anew on the mission of the Friars Minor."

In 2019, the minister general said, Franciscans should renew their commitment to walking "together with Muslims and people of all faiths as fellow travelers, as builders of civility, and most fundamentally, as sisters and brothers, children of Abraham, our father in faith."

He called on all the order's members "to celebrate this anniversary as a moment when the light of the Gospel can open one's heart to see the 'imago Dei' (image of God) in a person one regards with fear and distrust, or even worse, in a person one has been urged to hate."

"We live in a time when people of various faiths traffic on the demonization of Muslims and incite others to fear them," Father Perry said.

Beyond just studying and praying about dialogue, he said, "I encourage followers of Francis who lack much personal exposure to Islam to recall the experience of our founder by taking a simple and concrete step: meet a Muslim. Get to know him or her, beyond the pleasantries of a cup of tea and social nicety. Try to learn and appreciate what experience of God animates him or her and allow your Muslim friend to see the love God has poured into your heart through Christ."

Father Perry also recognized that some Franciscans live in lands where they are a minority and find themselves "caught up in political and sectarian strife and may feel the threat of violence." But he urged them to hold firm to St. Francis' conviction that God is patient and follows a timetable no human being could understand.

"Amid the groanings of the world for interreligious understanding," he wrote, "may our humble, patient and merciful God show all of us the deeds and words that are most pleasing to God."

 

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Pope looks back 800 years to St. Francis' dialogue with Muslim sultan

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 10:52am

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis will have St. Francis of Assisi on his mind when he visits Abu Dhabi Feb. 3-5 and Morocco in late March.

As he told ambassadors to the Holy See early in January, "These represent two important opportunities to advance interreligious dialogue and mutual understanding between the followers of both religions (Christianity and Islam) in this year that marks the 800th anniversary of the historic meeting between St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil" of Egypt.

The anniversary has a special meaning in the United Arab Emirates, which along with Oman and Yemen, are served by the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia, a church jurisdiction entrusted to the Capuchin Franciscans.

Most of the 65 priests who work in the vicariate and Bishop Paul Hinder, the apostolic vicar, are Capuchins.

The order's website -- ofmcap.org -- has a special page dedicated to the pope's visit to Abu Dhabi, which begins by noting: "This year marks the 800th anniversary of the visit of St. Francis of Assisi to the sultan of Egypt."

Father Michael A. Perry, minister general of the Franciscans, issued a long letter about the anniversary in early January, describing how St. Francis traveled to Egypt during the Crusades, arriving at "the camp of the crusading army, among Latin Christians who through years of preaching and the rhetoric of holy war had been taught to scorn Muslims. Those same Muslims had every reason to scorn Francis, assuming that he, like most in the crusader camp, was an enemy and not a bearer of peace."

Yet, Father Perry wrote, "we today celebrate what no one at that moment could have foreseen: that a Spirit-filled man with nothing of his own crossed the battle lines unarmed to request a meeting with the sultan, was received with grace by that sultan, enjoyed an extended period of hospitality with the Muslim leader and emerged from the visit to reflect anew on the mission of the Friars Minor."

In 2019, the minister general said, Franciscans should renew their commitment to walking "together with Muslims and people of all faiths as fellow travelers, as builders of civility, and most fundamentally, as sisters and brothers, children of Abraham, our father in faith."

He called on all the order's members "to celebrate this anniversary as a moment when the light of the Gospel can open one's heart to see the 'imago Dei' (image of God) in a person one regards with fear and distrust, or even worse, in a person one has been urged to hate."

"We live in a time when people of various faiths traffic on the demonization of Muslims and incite others to fear them," Father Perry said.

Beyond just studying and praying about dialogue, he said, "I encourage followers of Francis who lack much personal exposure to Islam to recall the experience of our founder by taking a simple and concrete step: meet a Muslim. Get to know him or her, beyond the pleasantries of a cup of tea and social nicety. Try to learn and appreciate what experience of God animates him or her and allow your Muslim friend to see the love God has poured into your heart through Christ."

Father Perry also recognized that some Franciscans live in lands where they are a minority and find themselves "caught up in political and sectarian strife and may feel the threat of violence." But he urged them to hold firm to St. Francis' conviction that God is patient and follows a timetable no human being could understand.

"Amid the groanings of the world for interreligious understanding," he wrote, "may our humble, patient and merciful God show all of us the deeds and words that are most pleasing to God."

 

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Everyone's hour will come, so be prepared for Judgment Day, pope says

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 10:30am

IMAGE: CNS photo/Vatican Media

By

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- People would be wise to think about Judgment Day and wonder what God will see when he examines their lives, Pope Francis said.

"If the Lord were to call me today, what would I do? What will I say? What harvest will I show him?" the pope asked during Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae Nov. 27.

In his homily, the pope reflected on the day's reading about the end of the world in the Book of Revelation, in which St. John uses the image of the Lord and angels armed with sharp sickles, reaping the harvest.

With the liturgical year coming to a close and the readings focused on the end of time, the pope said it would be good for people to examine their lives and reflect on how they might be judged when their hour has come.

"We don't like to think about the end," he said. "We always put this thought aside," especially when people are young, "but look how many young people go, how many are called. Nobody's life is guaranteed."

No one is on this earth forever; everyone's life will come to an end, he said, and God will want to see what has been harvested -- "the quality of our life."

This examination of conscience will help people understand what things they must fix in their lives and what things should be continued because they are good, the pope said.

"Yes, there will be an end, but that end will be an encounter, an encounter with the Lord. It's true there will be accounting for what I have done, but it will also be an encounter of mercy, of joy, of happiness," he said.

"Thinking about the end, the end of creation, the end of one's life, this is wisdom, the wise ones do it," he said.

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

WikiLeaks releases documents on Knights of Malta controversy

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 9:05am

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Internal documents relating to the public crisis that led to the resignation of the grand master of the Knights of Malta in 2017 were released by WikiLeaks.

Among the cache of dossiers, memos and documents released by the organization Jan. 30 were confidential letters signed by Pope Francis and Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, patron of the Knights of Malta, prior to the crisis that engulfed the order in early 2017.

While the leaked dossiers do not reveal much new information, they add some context to the events leading up to the controversial removal of Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, the order's grand chancellor, by Fra' Matthew Festing, the former grand master.

Pope Francis established a commission Dec. 22, 2016, to gather the facts and "completely inform" the Holy See about the circumstances leading to von Boeselager's removal as well as to foster dialogue and a peaceful resolution.

After receiving the commission's report, Pope Francis met with Festing Jan. 24, 2017, and accepted his resignation.

The crisis put the Order of Malta into the media spotlight with numerous articles speculating about a rift between conservative and progressive factions within the ancient order.

The grand chancellor's removal by Festing was triggered by an incident involving one of the many charitable projects the Order of Malta is involved in through its humanitarian relief agency, Malteser International.

Von Boeselager was serving as health minister in 2013 when Malteser International worked with several humanitarian agencies on a project in Myanmar aimed at preventing the spread of AIDS. Among other things, the project distributed condoms, something von Boeselager later said "had been initiated at a local level without the knowledge" of Malteser International headquarters.

Von Boeselager said that when he found out, he moved to halt the distribution of condoms and that he never tried to conceal what had happened.

Festing, nevertheless, forcibly removed von Boeselager from his post as grand chancellor in early December 2016 citing "severe problems" during his tenure as grand hospitaller of the Order of Malta and "his subsequent concealment of these problems from the Grand Magistry."

According to the official timeline of events published on the order's website, Festing also stated that the request for von Boeselager's removal was "an explicit 'wish' of the Holy See."

However, among the documents released by WikiLeaks was a Dec. 1, 2016, letter to Cardinal Burke signed by Pope Francis. In the letter, the pope asks the order to ensure that "its initiatives and health care works are not contrary to moral law."

The pope also expressed his hope that any problem of this nature would be resolved, and he said he would be "disappointed if high officers were aware of practices such as the distribution of any type of contraceptives and have not yet intervened to end such things."

"I have no doubts that by following the principle of Paul and 'speaking the truth in love,' the matter can be discussed with these officers and the necessary rectification obtained," the pope said.

While the pope did not ask for von Boeselager's removal, he did urge the order to remove any member involved in "secular and frivolous behavior, such as membership in associations, movements and organizations which are contrary to the Catholic faith or are of a relativist nature."

"In such cases, knights who are members of these associations, movements and organizations should be asked to remove themselves from the order because their behavior is incompatible with Catholic faith and membership in the Order of Malta," the pope said.

An alternative timeline of the events released by WikiLeaks claimed that after von Boeselager's refusal to resign, Festing called for a vote by the order's sovereign council to remove the grand chancellor. However, the vote did not reach the required two-thirds majority to remove him.

The document also alleges that after the vote, Cardinal Burke informed Festing that "one of three things will happen": either the grand chancellor resigns of his own accord, the grand master removes von Boeselager by suspending him from the order for "having broken the promise of obedience" when asked to resign or Cardinal Burke "will recommend to Pope Francis to initiate a visitation of the order."

The Order of Malta declined to comment Jan. 31, saying the documents contain "nothing new."

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

WikiLeaks releases documents on Knights of Malta controversy

Thu, 01/31/2019 - 9:05am

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Internal documents relating to the public crisis that led to the resignation of the grand master of the Knights of Malta in 2017 were released by WikiLeaks.

Among the cache of dossiers, memos and documents released by the organization Jan. 30 were confidential letters signed by Pope Francis and Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, patron of the Knights of Malta, prior to the crisis that engulfed the order in early 2017.

While the leaked dossiers do not reveal much new information, they add some context to the events leading up to the controversial removal of Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, the order's grand chancellor, by Fra' Matthew Festing, the former grand master.

Pope Francis established a commission Dec. 22, 2016, to gather the facts and "completely inform" the Holy See about the circumstances leading to von Boeselager's removal as well as to foster dialogue and a peaceful resolution.

After receiving the commission's report, Pope Francis met with Festing Jan. 24, 2017, and accepted his resignation.

The crisis put the Order of Malta into the media spotlight with numerous articles speculating about a rift between conservative and progressive factions within the ancient order.

The grand chancellor's removal by Festing was triggered by an incident involving one of the many charitable projects the Order of Malta is involved in through its humanitarian relief agency, Malteser International.

Von Boeselager was serving as health minister in 2013 when Malteser International worked with several humanitarian agencies on a project in Myanmar aimed at preventing the spread of AIDS. Among other things, the project distributed condoms, something von Boeselager later said "had been initiated at a local level without the knowledge" of Malteser International headquarters.

Von Boeselager said that when he found out, he moved to halt the distribution of condoms and that he never tried to conceal what had happened.

Festing, nevertheless, forcibly removed von Boeselager from his post as grand chancellor in early December 2016 citing "severe problems" during his tenure as grand hospitaller of the Order of Malta and "his subsequent concealment of these problems from the Grand Magistry."

According to the official timeline of events published on the order's website, Festing also stated that the request for von Boeselager's removal was "an explicit 'wish' of the Holy See."

However, among the documents released by WikiLeaks was a Dec. 1, 2016, letter to Cardinal Burke signed by Pope Francis. In the letter, the pope asks the order to ensure that "its initiatives and health care works are not contrary to moral law."

The pope also expressed his hope that any problem of this nature would be resolved, and he said he would be "disappointed if high officers were aware of practices such as the distribution of any type of contraceptives and have not yet intervened to end such things."

"I have no doubts that by following the principle of Paul and 'speaking the truth in love,' the matter can be discussed with these officers and the necessary rectification obtained," the pope said.

While the pope did not ask for von Boeselager's removal, he did urge the order to remove any member involved in "secular and frivolous behavior, such as membership in associations, movements and organizations which are contrary to the Catholic faith or are of a relativist nature."

"In such cases, knights who are members of these associations, movements and organizations should be asked to remove themselves from the order because their behavior is incompatible with Catholic faith and membership in the Order of Malta," the pope said.

An alternative timeline of the events released by WikiLeaks claimed that after von Boeselager's refusal to resign, Festing called for a vote by the order's sovereign council to remove the grand chancellor. However, the vote did not reach the required two-thirds majority to remove him.

The document also alleges that after the vote, Cardinal Burke informed Festing that "one of three things will happen": either the grand chancellor resigns of his own accord, the grand master removes von Boeselager by suspending him from the order for "having broken the promise of obedience" when asked to resign or Cardinal Burke "will recommend to Pope Francis to initiate a visitation of the order."

The Order of Malta declined to comment Jan. 31, saying the documents contain "nothing new."

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Update: Pakistan Supreme Court upholds blasphemy acquittal of Asia Bibi

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 9:35am

IMAGE: CNS photo/Punjab Governor House handout via EPA

By

ISLAMABAD (CNS) -- Pakistan's Supreme Court upheld its acquittal of a Pakistani Catholic woman sentenced to hang for blasphemy.

Asia Bibi is now free to leave Pakistan and is expected to join her family in Canada, where they were granted asylum. A Canadian bishop who has worked on arranging for Bibi to live in Canada told The Catholic Register, Canadian Catholic weekly, that the location of Bibi's daughters and their family friends must remain secret to protect them from Islamic extremists.

AP reported that Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa stood by the court's Oct. 31 verdict, which criticized the conflicting testimony against Bibi.

"You think we give the death sentence to someone on the basis of false evidence?" he said according to media reports. "Such lies were told that one statement doesn't match with another."

Tehreek-e-Labbaik, an extremist group, challenged the Oct. 31 acquittal. Protests erupted after the original acquittal, and the BBC reported that, after the Jan. 29 decision, Pakistan's electronic media were downplaying the story "in a concerted move to forestall public unrest."

The ordeal of Bibi, who worked as a farmhand, began in June 2009 when she was accused of insulting Muhammad, the founder of Islam, after Muslim co-workers objected to her drinking from a common water supply because she is a Christian.

Bibi was rescued from a mob by police, only to be sentenced to death in 2010 for violating Section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which makes insulting Muhammad a capital offense.

No one has been executed under the law so far, but Christians who are falsely accused often are lynched or spend many years in prison.

 

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Bishop says Pakistani woman acquitted of blasphemy will live in Canada

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 9:30am

IMAGE: CNS photo/Punjab Governor House handout via EPA

By Michael Swan

TORONTO (CNS) -- Asia Bibi, the Catholic woman who spent eight years on death row in Pakistan, will be welcomed to a small town in Canada, where she will be reunited with her two teenage daughters, along with the family who aided and protected her daughters in Lahore while the mother sat in jail through years of legal appeals.

The location of Bibi's daughters and their family friends must remain secret for now, a Canadian bishop who has worked on bringing Bibi to Canada told The Catholic Register, Canadian Catholic weekly.

"It's real life and death stuff," said the bishop. "There is a possibility that a militant Islamic group could come after her here."

On Jan. 29, the Supreme Court of Pakistan rejected a final attempt to have Asia Bibi retried on blasphemy charges that stem from a 2009 argument between Bibi and fellow farm workers, who accused her of drinking from the same cup as her Muslim co-workers. Under Pakistani law, insulting the prophet Muhammad is a capital offense.

With news of the Pakistani court's decision, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed Canada has offered asylum to Bibi and her husband, Ashiq Masih, and that the offer has been accepted.

Bibi and Masih's daughters, who are 18 and 19 years old, have been in Canada since just before Christmas, family friend Nadeem Bhatti told The Catholic Register.

Bhatti helped bring Bibi's daughters and the family of six who befriended and helped Bibi's daughters and husband in Lahore to Canada. The Lahore family's close association with Bibi put them in danger after Pakistan's top court initially found no case against Bibi in October.

The church will extend whatever aid it can to Bibi and her family.

"We would host them in a minute," said the bishop. "So far we haven't been asked that."

If Bibi chooses to assume a new identity and establish a life for her family in an undisclosed location, media should give her that opportunity, the bishop said. The bishop asked to remain anonymous so that would-be assassins could not begin looking for Bibi in his diocese.

In the two months after the Pakistani court made its ruling public on Oct. 31, Bibi's daughters and their family friends moved three times to various secret locations in Pakistan, while followers of Khadim Hussain Rizvi searched house-to-house, looking to kill them.

Rizvi's party, Tehreek-e-Labbaik, had challenged the October acquittal.

Following the Oct. 31 announcement that Pakistan's Supreme Court had acquitted Bibi, Rizvi announced a fatwa that put a price on the heads of the judges who heard the case, various government ministers and Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Pakistani police and security forces arrested up to 3,000 militants in an effort to protect Bibi, Bhatti said. The atmosphere was so charged and so dangerous Bibi's daughters and friends needed immediate sanctuary in December, Bhatti told The Catholic Register.

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Swan is associate editor of The Catholic Register, Toronto.

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Bishop says Pakistani woman acquitted of blasphemy will live in Canada

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 9:30am

IMAGE: CNS photo/Punjab Governor House handout via EPA

By Michael Swan

TORONTO (CNS) -- Asia Bibi, the Catholic woman who spent eight years on death row in Pakistan, will be welcomed to a small town in Canada, where she will be reunited with her two teenage daughters, along with the family who aided and protected her daughters in Lahore while the mother sat in jail through years of legal appeals.

The location of Bibi's daughters and their family friends must remain secret for now, a Canadian bishop who has worked on bringing Bibi to Canada told The Catholic Register, Canadian Catholic weekly.

"It's real life and death stuff," said the bishop. "There is a possibility that a militant Islamic group could come after her here."

On Jan. 29, the Supreme Court of Pakistan rejected a final attempt to have Asia Bibi retried on blasphemy charges that stem from a 2009 argument between Bibi and fellow farm workers, who accused her of drinking from the same cup as her Muslim co-workers. Under Pakistani law, insulting the prophet Muhammad is a capital offense.

With news of the Pakistani court's decision, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed Canada has offered asylum to Bibi and her husband, Ashiq Masih, and that the offer has been accepted.

Bibi and Masih's daughters, who are 18 and 19 years old, have been in Canada since just before Christmas, family friend Nadeem Bhatti told The Catholic Register.

Bhatti helped bring Bibi's daughters and the family of six who befriended and helped Bibi's daughters and husband in Lahore to Canada. The Lahore family's close association with Bibi put them in danger after Pakistan's top court initially found no case against Bibi in October.

The church will extend whatever aid it can to Bibi and her family.

"We would host them in a minute," said the bishop. "So far we haven't been asked that."

If Bibi chooses to assume a new identity and establish a life for her family in an undisclosed location, media should give her that opportunity, the bishop said. The bishop asked to remain anonymous so that would-be assassins could not begin looking for Bibi in his diocese.

In the two months after the Pakistani court made its ruling public on Oct. 31, Bibi's daughters and their family friends moved three times to various secret locations in Pakistan, while followers of Khadim Hussain Rizvi searched house-to-house, looking to kill them.

Rizvi's party, Tehreek-e-Labbaik, had challenged the October acquittal.

Following the Oct. 31 announcement that Pakistan's Supreme Court had acquitted Bibi, Rizvi announced a fatwa that put a price on the heads of the judges who heard the case, various government ministers and Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Pakistani police and security forces arrested up to 3,000 militants in an effort to protect Bibi, Bhatti said. The atmosphere was so charged and so dangerous Bibi's daughters and friends needed immediate sanctuary in December, Bhatti told The Catholic Register.

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Swan is associate editor of The Catholic Register, Toronto.

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Affirming celibacy, pope explains narrow possibility for married priests

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 9:17am

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Many people were surprised when Pope Francis told reporters flying with him from Panama Jan. 27 that he did not think optional celibacy for priests in the Latin-rite church was a good idea.

"Personally, I believe that celibacy is a gift to the church," the pope said. "Second, I'm not in agreement with allowing optional celibacy."

But before that and before really getting into the question, he told reporters, "A phrase St. Paul VI said comes to mind: 'I would rather give my life than to change the law on celibacy.'"

"My personal opinion" is that optional celibacy is not the way forward, the pope told reporters. "Am I someone who is closed? Maybe, but I don't feel like I could stand before God with this decision."

However, he did say "there could be some possibility" of ordaining married men in very remote locations where there are Catholic communities that seldom have Mass because there are no priests. But, even for that situation, much study would need to be done.

His caution surprised both those who suspected that Pope Francis would be happy to relax the discipline of celibacy and those who hoped he would.

Both groups expected that some movement on the issue was in the cards when Pope Francis announced he was convoking a special Synod of Bishops to focus on the Amazon, a region where far-flung Catholic communities often go without the Mass and other sacraments for weeks on end.

A few bishops from the region repeatedly have raised the question of ordaining married "viri probati" -- men of proven virtue -- at synods of bishops as far back as 1971 when the topic was "the ministerial priesthood."

While the proposal has never garnered the support of the majority of bishops at a synod, it keeps featuring in synod discussions.

At the synod on the Eucharist in 2005, for example, one of the propositions submitted to Pope Benedict XVI described the lack of priests as a cause of "acute pain." But it added: "In this context, the synod fathers affirmed the importance of the inestimable gift of ecclesiastical celibacy in the practice of the Latin church."

"Some participants made reference to 'viri probati,' but in the end, the small-discussion groups evaluated this hypothesis as a road not to follow," the proposition to the pope said. Instead, the bishops called for greater efforts to foster vocations to the priesthood.

The terms "viri probati" and "married priests" do not appear in the preparatory document for the synod on the Amazon, which is scheduled for October. But it does say, "new ways should be considered for the People of God to have better and more frequent access to the Eucharist, the center of Christian life," and it asks bishops to make suggestions "to respond to this need."

Giving a sense that he was thinking aloud about specific circumstances where married men could be ordained priests, Pope Francis told reporters on the late January flight that he had read a book on the subject by Bishop Fritz Lobinger, a 90-year-old German missionary and retired bishop of Aliwal, South Africa.

Bishop Lobinger has written several books and dozens of articles about ordaining elders, including married men, when they arise organically from a Catholic community where Mass is rarely celebrated. In his writings, the bishop insists that the ordained elders should be distinct from, and mentored by, diocesan clergy.

Explaining his thoughts in an article published in U.S. Catholic magazine in March 2010, Bishop Lobinger said, "The two kinds (of priests) would exercise two different roles. The elders would lead the community and administer the sacraments in their own community, while the (diocesan) priests would be the spiritual guides of elders in several self-ministering communities. The priests would thus serve the whole diocese, while the elders would serve only the community where they were ordained."

Pope Francis told reporters he found "interesting" Bishop Lobinger's proposal that diocesan priests and ordained elders would have different roles. Pope Francis described the difference using the traditional "tria munera" or three ministries conferred by ordination: the ministries of teaching, sanctifying and governing. He said in his understanding of Bishop Lobinger's proposal, ordained elders would be charged by the bishop with only the "munera" of sanctifying the people by leading prayer and celebrating the sacraments.

But, in a telephone interview Jan. 30, Bishop Lobinger told Catholic News Service, "I was surprised and shocked that he spoke of the 'tria munera.' I did not use these terms and, secondly, it would seem to strip down the meaning of ordination" conferred on the elders.

But "that was his interpretation," the bishop said. "This is a time of moving into new territory and one must find a way. In the end, it should depend on the local community" and how it organizes its life within the larger church.

Even after explaining how he understood the bishop's thesis, Pope Francis told reporters, "I don't say this must be done because I have not reflected on it, I have not prayed enough (about it), but it's something for theologians to study."

Bishop Lobinger told CNS he is convinced that a good portion of that reflection, prayer and study will be evident at the Amazon synod and that Pope Francis "is really steering the church in that direction."

The bishop has never argued for optional celibacy for all priests. In fact, in his 2003 book "Priests for Tomorrow," he said that if implemented carefully and with clear explanations to the Catholic faithful, the ordination of the elders would increase people's appreciation for diocesan priests who, unlike the elders, give everything to serve the Lord and God's people.

The "totally dedicated priest," he wrote, would be appreciated not as a "dispenser of religious services," but "as the spiritual heart of the body of believers."

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Follow Wooden on Twitter: @Cindy_Wooden

 

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Affirming celibacy, pope explains narrow possibility for married priests

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 9:17am

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Many people were surprised when Pope Francis told reporters flying with him from Panama Jan. 27 that he did not think optional celibacy for priests in the Latin-rite church was a good idea.

"Personally, I believe that celibacy is a gift to the church," the pope said. "Second, I'm not in agreement with allowing optional celibacy."

But before that and before really getting into the question, he told reporters, "A phrase St. Paul VI said comes to mind: 'I would rather give my life than to change the law on celibacy.'"

"My personal opinion" is that optional celibacy is not the way forward, the pope told reporters. "Am I someone who is closed? Maybe, but I don't feel like I could stand before God with this decision."

However, he did say "there could be some possibility" of ordaining married men in very remote locations where there are Catholic communities that seldom have Mass because there are no priests. But, even for that situation, much study would need to be done.

His caution surprised both those who suspected that Pope Francis would be happy to relax the discipline of celibacy and those who hoped he would.

Both groups expected that some movement on the issue was in the cards when Pope Francis announced he was convoking a special Synod of Bishops to focus on the Amazon, a region where far-flung Catholic communities often go without the Mass and other sacraments for weeks on end.

A few bishops from the region repeatedly have raised the question of ordaining married "viri probati" -- men of proven virtue -- at synods of bishops as far back as 1971 when the topic was "the ministerial priesthood."

While the proposal has never garnered the support of the majority of bishops at a synod, it keeps featuring in synod discussions.

At the synod on the Eucharist in 2005, for example, one of the propositions submitted to Pope Benedict XVI described the lack of priests as a cause of "acute pain." But it added: "In this context, the synod fathers affirmed the importance of the inestimable gift of ecclesiastical celibacy in the practice of the Latin church."

"Some participants made reference to 'viri probati,' but in the end, the small-discussion groups evaluated this hypothesis as a road not to follow," the proposition to the pope said. Instead, the bishops called for greater efforts to foster vocations to the priesthood.

The terms "viri probati" and "married priests" do not appear in the preparatory document for the synod on the Amazon, which is scheduled for October. But it does say, "new ways should be considered for the People of God to have better and more frequent access to the Eucharist, the center of Christian life," and it asks bishops to make suggestions "to respond to this need."

Giving a sense that he was thinking aloud about specific circumstances where married men could be ordained priests, Pope Francis told reporters on the late January flight that he had read a book on the subject by Bishop Fritz Lobinger, a 90-year-old German missionary and retired bishop of Aliwal, South Africa.

Bishop Lobinger has written several books and dozens of articles about ordaining elders, including married men, when they arise organically from a Catholic community where Mass is rarely celebrated. In his writings, the bishop insists that the ordained elders should be distinct from, and mentored by, diocesan clergy.

Explaining his thoughts in an article published in U.S. Catholic magazine in March 2010, Bishop Lobinger said, "The two kinds (of priests) would exercise two different roles. The elders would lead the community and administer the sacraments in their own community, while the (diocesan) priests would be the spiritual guides of elders in several self-ministering communities. The priests would thus serve the whole diocese, while the elders would serve only the community where they were ordained."

Pope Francis told reporters he found "interesting" Bishop Lobinger's proposal that diocesan priests and ordained elders would have different roles. Pope Francis described the difference using the traditional "tria munera" or three ministries conferred by ordination: the ministries of teaching, sanctifying and governing. He said in his understanding of Bishop Lobinger's proposal, ordained elders would be charged by the bishop with only the "munera" of sanctifying the people by leading prayer and celebrating the sacraments.

But, in a telephone interview Jan. 30, Bishop Lobinger told Catholic News Service, "I was surprised and shocked that he spoke of the 'tria munera.' I did not use these terms and, secondly, it would seem to strip down the meaning of ordination" conferred on the elders.

But "that was his interpretation," the bishop said. "This is a time of moving into new territory and one must find a way. In the end, it should depend on the local community" and how it organizes its life within the larger church.

Even after explaining how he understood the bishop's thesis, Pope Francis told reporters, "I don't say this must be done because I have not reflected on it, I have not prayed enough (about it), but it's something for theologians to study."

Bishop Lobinger told CNS he is convinced that a good portion of that reflection, prayer and study will be evident at the Amazon synod and that Pope Francis "is really steering the church in that direction."

The bishop has never argued for optional celibacy for all priests. In fact, in his 2003 book "Priests for Tomorrow," he said that if implemented carefully and with clear explanations to the Catholic faithful, the ordination of the elders would increase people's appreciation for diocesan priests who, unlike the elders, give everything to serve the Lord and God's people.

The "totally dedicated priest," he wrote, would be appreciated not as a "dispenser of religious services," but "as the spiritual heart of the body of believers."

- - -

Follow Wooden on Twitter: @Cindy_Wooden

 

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Global encounter of WYD challenges nationalism, walls, pope says

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 9:00am

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The joyous harmony of people coming together from so many different nations for World Youth Day stands in sharp contrast to today's "sad" situation of confrontational nationalist feelings, Pope Francis said.

"It is a sign that young Christians are the leaven for peace in the world," he said at his general audience Jan. 30 in the Vatican's Paul VI hall.

The pope dedicated his weekly reflection to his trip to Panama Jan. 23-27 to celebrate World Youth Day.

The hundreds of thousands of young people from five continents who attended the events "formed a great symphony of faces and languages," he said.

"To see all the flags flying together, fluttering in the hands of young people, happy to encounter each other is a prophetic sign, a sign (that goes) against the tide of today's sad tendency toward confrontational nationalist sentiments that erect walls, that close themselves off from universality, from the encounter among peoples," he said.

He praised the enthusiasm and prayerful reverence young people showed at the many events and recalled the dedication he saw on the faces of many who declared themselves open to God's will and ready serve the Lord.

"As long as there are new generations able to say, 'Here I am' to God, the world will have a future," he said.

Another image that struck him during the trip, he said, was seeing so many mothers and fathers proudly holding up their children as he passed by in the popemobile.

They showed off their children "as if to say, 'Here is my pride, here is my future,'" he said.

"How much dignity is in this gesture and how eloquent (given) the demographic winter we are living in Europe," the pope said. "The pride of those families is the children; children are security for the future. A demographic winter without children is hard."

Young people are called to live the Gospel today "because young people are not 'the tomorrow,' not 'in the meantime,' but they are the 'today' of the church and the world," he said.

Pope Francis also urged people to pray the Way of the Cross, saying it is "the school of Christian life" where one learns about a love that is "patient, silent, concrete."

He then said he wanted to share a secret with everyone and pulled out a small box, showing it to the crowd, explaining it was a pocket-sized kit for praying the Way of the Cross.

He said he loved following the Via Crucis "because it is following Jesus with Mary on the way of the cross where he gave his life for us, for our redemption."

"When I have time," he said, he takes the prayer kit out and prays, and he urged others to do the same.

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Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Global encounter of WYD challenges nationalism, walls, pope says

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 9:00am

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The joyous harmony of people coming together from so many different nations for World Youth Day stands in sharp contrast to today's "sad" situation of confrontational nationalist feelings, Pope Francis said.

"It is a sign that young Christians are the leaven for peace in the world," he said at his general audience Jan. 30 in the Vatican's Paul VI hall.

The pope dedicated his weekly reflection to his trip to Panama Jan. 23-27 to celebrate World Youth Day.

The hundreds of thousands of young people from five continents who attended the events "formed a great symphony of faces and languages," he said.

"To see all the flags flying together, fluttering in the hands of young people, happy to encounter each other is a prophetic sign, a sign (that goes) against the tide of today's sad tendency toward confrontational nationalist sentiments that erect walls, that close themselves off from universality, from the encounter among peoples," he said.

He praised the enthusiasm and prayerful reverence young people showed at the many events and recalled the dedication he saw on the faces of many who declared themselves open to God's will and ready serve the Lord.

"As long as there are new generations able to say, 'Here I am' to God, the world will have a future," he said.

Another image that struck him during the trip, he said, was seeing so many mothers and fathers proudly holding up their children as he passed by in the popemobile.

They showed off their children "as if to say, 'Here is my pride, here is my future,'" he said.

"How much dignity is in this gesture and how eloquent (given) the demographic winter we are living in Europe," the pope said. "The pride of those families is the children; children are security for the future. A demographic winter without children is hard."

Young people are called to live the Gospel today "because young people are not 'the tomorrow,' not 'in the meantime,' but they are the 'today' of the church and the world," he said.

Pope Francis also urged people to pray the Way of the Cross, saying it is "the school of Christian life" where one learns about a love that is "patient, silent, concrete."

He then said he wanted to share a secret with everyone and pulled out a small box, showing it to the crowd, explaining it was a pocket-sized kit for praying the Way of the Cross.

He said he loved following the Via Crucis "because it is following Jesus with Mary on the way of the cross where he gave his life for us, for our redemption."

"When I have time," he said, he takes the prayer kit out and prays, and he urged others to do the same.

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Survivors, lay leaders help archdiocese hear victims, assist in healing

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 4:30pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, Catholic Spirit

By Maria Wiering

ST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) -- Frank Meuers and Tim O'Malley meet every month or so, often for breakfast, to talk about the Catholic Church and clergy sex abuse.

Meuers is the southwest Minnesota chapter director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, and O'Malley directs the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis' Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment.

Since its founding, SNAP has often positioned itself as an adversary of the institutional church, which is why these meetings -- and the men's resulting collegiality -- is so extraordinary. Meuers said he knows of no other SNAP leader with a similar relationship to a church official.

Meuers, 79, is one of more than a dozen clergy sexual abuse survivors in regular -- sometimes daily -- contact with O'Malley and his office. O'Malley looks to them for advice and insight into improving and expanding the archdiocese's outreach to survivors, and he expects that collaboration will broaden and deepen now that the archdiocese's Chapter 11 bankruptcy case is complete.

During the bankruptcy proceedings, more than 450 survivors filed abuse claims against the archdiocese. While some of those claimants worked with O'Malley's office during the four-year reorganization process, he had heard that others might be newly open to connecting with the archdiocese after the end of litigation.

And that's already happened, he told The Catholic Spirit, the archdiocesan newspaper. Since the bankruptcy's Dec. 21 resolution, some survivors who were former claimants have requested meetings with him or Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda, and some of those meetings have taken place.

That may be the result of a mid-December public letter from Archbishop Hebda, in which he reiterated that he is available to meet with abuse survivors. He said he is reserving Fridays through April for those meetings.

In the same letter, he reminded survivors who previously entered into a settlement agreement with the archdiocese that contained a confidentiality clause that they are released from the confidentiality agreement.

But neither statement was made without first taking the temperature of the local survivor community, said O'Malley, a former judge and superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension who joined the archdiocese in 2014 to revamp its safe environment efforts. Both a group of survivors and survivors' attorneys were consulted to make sure the archbishop's statement would achieve its objective.

"We don't make any decision without asking for (survivors') input, and it's very valuable as far as moving forward, next steps," said Janell Rasmussen, deputy director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment. "It's pretty influential in our work."

That has included delving deeper into a proposal to follow the lead of other dioceses and establish an archdiocesan "year of reconciliation" or other effort toward healing in 2019. After some priests pitched the idea to archdiocesan leaders in late 2018, O'Malley's office consulted its survivor network.

Some thought the concept was premature, and others wanted to see more concrete plans before they could evaluate it. With that feedback, a committee has formed to determine what initiative would best serve the local church.

"It's not just us deciding 'oh this is a good idea,' it's involving ... lay leadership and victims/survivors ... to help us understand what do they think would be helpful, and then we respond to that," O'Malley said.

Rasmussen identified three "groups" of survivors her office works with: survivors who collaborate with the office regularly; survivors who have less frequent contact with the archdiocese but who help plan and attend events; and survivors who call her office with questions and ideas, but who aren't directly involved with local outreach efforts.

Survivors and "secondary survivors" -- survivors' family and friends who also live with the effects of abuse -- sit on the archdiocesan Ministerial Review Board, which advises Archbishop Hebda on matters of clergy misconduct, as well as on the advisory board for the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth.

Local survivors also have influenced changes the archdiocese is making to requirements for VIRTUS training, the national program for employees and volunteers in Catholic institutions to increase sexual abuse awareness.

Rasmussen has learned that many survivors find some parts of the training distressing, and that has prevented some from completing the training and volunteering in parishes or schools. She is working to amend archdiocesan policies in order to accommodate survivors, as well as communicate with VIRTUS with the hope of influencing future training materials.

Meanwhile, the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment has been working with parish leaders to organize listening sessions, informational meetings and restorative justice events.

Meuers, who said he was abused by a priest as a 16-year-old in the context of confession, has been instrumental in helping the archdiocese shape its outreach to parishes.

With the bankruptcy resolved, parish leaders are asking, "What's next?" O'Malley said, and they want to help parishioners -- and the survivors among them -- be heard and to heal from their own experiences and the broader crisis in the church.

Restorative justice experts Janine Geske and Mark Umbreit also have led or participated in some parish events.

"Parishes are all different in terms of their history with this and what their needs are," O'Malley said. At least four parishes have hosted events, and he expects interest to grow.

In his national and international work with SNAP, Meuers said he's unaware of other dioceses that work so closely with survivors.

"This is pretty unique," he said of the archdiocese's approach. "This is not something that's just being picked up somewhere ' and we're just implementing this. They had to start from zero, and there was a lot to be done here. I don't think it was until Tim got there that they (the archdiocese) actually started putting some things together to make it work."

Meuers first met O'Malley about two-and-a-half years ago. He said O'Malley understands that letting people share and be heard goes a long way in the healing process, and that's why the healing circle approach the archdiocese has backed in several parishes works. The archdiocese also customizes its approach for each unique situation, Meuers said, and he hopes to see other U.S. dioceses adopt what he calls "the Minnesota model."

Mike Finnegan, a child abuse attorney with Jeff Anderson & Associates in St. Paul, also said that the archdiocese stands out in its proactive approach to reaching out to survivors and making sure they know they can meet with local church leaders.

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Wiering is editor of The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Survivors, lay leaders help archdiocese hear victims, assist in healing

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 4:30pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, Catholic Spirit

By Maria Wiering

ST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) -- Frank Meuers and Tim O'Malley meet every month or so, often for breakfast, to talk about the Catholic Church and clergy sex abuse.

Meuers is the southwest Minnesota chapter director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, and O'Malley directs the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis' Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment.

Since its founding, SNAP has often positioned itself as an adversary of the institutional church, which is why these meetings -- and the men's resulting collegiality -- is so extraordinary. Meuers said he knows of no other SNAP leader with a similar relationship to a church official.

Meuers, 79, is one of more than a dozen clergy sexual abuse survivors in regular -- sometimes daily -- contact with O'Malley and his office. O'Malley looks to them for advice and insight into improving and expanding the archdiocese's outreach to survivors, and he expects that collaboration will broaden and deepen now that the archdiocese's Chapter 11 bankruptcy case is complete.

During the bankruptcy proceedings, more than 450 survivors filed abuse claims against the archdiocese. While some of those claimants worked with O'Malley's office during the four-year reorganization process, he had heard that others might be newly open to connecting with the archdiocese after the end of litigation.

And that's already happened, he told The Catholic Spirit, the archdiocesan newspaper. Since the bankruptcy's Dec. 21 resolution, some survivors who were former claimants have requested meetings with him or Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda, and some of those meetings have taken place.

That may be the result of a mid-December public letter from Archbishop Hebda, in which he reiterated that he is available to meet with abuse survivors. He said he is reserving Fridays through April for those meetings.

In the same letter, he reminded survivors who previously entered into a settlement agreement with the archdiocese that contained a confidentiality clause that they are released from the confidentiality agreement.

But neither statement was made without first taking the temperature of the local survivor community, said O'Malley, a former judge and superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension who joined the archdiocese in 2014 to revamp its safe environment efforts. Both a group of survivors and survivors' attorneys were consulted to make sure the archbishop's statement would achieve its objective.

"We don't make any decision without asking for (survivors') input, and it's very valuable as far as moving forward, next steps," said Janell Rasmussen, deputy director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment. "It's pretty influential in our work."

That has included delving deeper into a proposal to follow the lead of other dioceses and establish an archdiocesan "year of reconciliation" or other effort toward healing in 2019. After some priests pitched the idea to archdiocesan leaders in late 2018, O'Malley's office consulted its survivor network.

Some thought the concept was premature, and others wanted to see more concrete plans before they could evaluate it. With that feedback, a committee has formed to determine what initiative would best serve the local church.

"It's not just us deciding 'oh this is a good idea,' it's involving ... lay leadership and victims/survivors ... to help us understand what do they think would be helpful, and then we respond to that," O'Malley said.

Rasmussen identified three "groups" of survivors her office works with: survivors who collaborate with the office regularly; survivors who have less frequent contact with the archdiocese but who help plan and attend events; and survivors who call her office with questions and ideas, but who aren't directly involved with local outreach efforts.

Survivors and "secondary survivors" -- survivors' family and friends who also live with the effects of abuse -- sit on the archdiocesan Ministerial Review Board, which advises Archbishop Hebda on matters of clergy misconduct, as well as on the advisory board for the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth.

Local survivors also have influenced changes the archdiocese is making to requirements for VIRTUS training, the national program for employees and volunteers in Catholic institutions to increase sexual abuse awareness.

Rasmussen has learned that many survivors find some parts of the training distressing, and that has prevented some from completing the training and volunteering in parishes or schools. She is working to amend archdiocesan policies in order to accommodate survivors, as well as communicate with VIRTUS with the hope of influencing future training materials.

Meanwhile, the Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment has been working with parish leaders to organize listening sessions, informational meetings and restorative justice events.

Meuers, who said he was abused by a priest as a 16-year-old in the context of confession, has been instrumental in helping the archdiocese shape its outreach to parishes.

With the bankruptcy resolved, parish leaders are asking, "What's next?" O'Malley said, and they want to help parishioners -- and the survivors among them -- be heard and to heal from their own experiences and the broader crisis in the church.

Restorative justice experts Janine Geske and Mark Umbreit also have led or participated in some parish events.

"Parishes are all different in terms of their history with this and what their needs are," O'Malley said. At least four parishes have hosted events, and he expects interest to grow.

In his national and international work with SNAP, Meuers said he's unaware of other dioceses that work so closely with survivors.

"This is pretty unique," he said of the archdiocese's approach. "This is not something that's just being picked up somewhere ' and we're just implementing this. They had to start from zero, and there was a lot to be done here. I don't think it was until Tim got there that they (the archdiocese) actually started putting some things together to make it work."

Meuers first met O'Malley about two-and-a-half years ago. He said O'Malley understands that letting people share and be heard goes a long way in the healing process, and that's why the healing circle approach the archdiocese has backed in several parishes works. The archdiocese also customizes its approach for each unique situation, Meuers said, and he hopes to see other U.S. dioceses adopt what he calls "the Minnesota model."

Mike Finnegan, a child abuse attorney with Jeff Anderson & Associates in St. Paul, also said that the archdiocese stands out in its proactive approach to reaching out to survivors and making sure they know they can meet with local church leaders.

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Wiering is editor of The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Florida Catholic high school girls get a lot out of new weightlifting team

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 2:30pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jean Gonzalez, Florida Catholic

By Jean Gonzalez

SARASOTA, Fla. (CNS) -- Ashley Savigne looked intently at the barbell for her dead lift to an overhead press.

The 45-pound bar had 10-pound plates on each side. The high school sophomore at Cardinal Mooney High School in Sarasota took a deep breath and, with a look of determination, bent in the squat position. Her hips were slightly higher than her knees, as they should be. She picked up the barbell with her arms straight and extended.

Holding it steady, she was ready for the next step -- lifting it over her head. To do so, form again was critical. But at some point, she realized she made an error in form, and instead of continuing the motion incorrectly, she abandoned the lift and put the bar back down on the mat.

Loudly. And with a bit of force. So much so that she lost her balance and fell on her rear.

A little embarrassed, she started laughing at herself. But her coach, Scott Ruane, was right there to offer honest encouragement.

"Ashley you were so close. You almost got it," the Cardinal Mooney weightlifting coach said. "And if you're going to fail, fail like that."

After Ruane identified flaws in her technique, Ashley went right back to task. With fellow weightlifting teammates cheering her on, Ashley lifted the weight, her posture and technique perfect. The cheers filled the room and Ashley ended her lift with a nod to herself and a smile.

"The girls respect each other for lifting weights. It empowers them as females," Ruane said. "It gives them confidence and a powerful experience."

This is the first year the Catholic high school offered girls' weightlifting. The idea began in the summer when Ruane offered a weightlifting clinic. Years ago, the school had offered a program for girls, although not a separate team; they trained with boys. Meets were done on an informal basis because the Florida High School Athletic Association did not recognize it as a sport.

But now other high schools have teams and there are formal meets for girls' weightlifting. Seeing a renewed interest in the summer clinic and the opportunity to perform at meets, Ruane, who also helps with football, took a chance and drew a little more than a dozen girls, many of whom participate in other sports.

He speculated some of the initial interest might have just been curiosity and another outlet to socialize as a female athlete, but it took no time before team members took the sport seriously.

And although this is Ruane's first foray in teaching a sport exclusively with girl, he noticed the difference between female and male athletes.

"Girls are more meticulous in the best way possible," Ruane told the Florida Catholic, newspaper of the Orlando Diocese. "They do exactly as you say and the biggest thing about that is they develop good habits for what they are doing. They believe in learning step by step." He added that the girls on the team don't try to one-up each other, which might happen with guys in the weight room.

But Alice Smithers, assistant coach for the team, was quick to say that doesn't mean the girls aren't competitive. In a way, they drive each other, with one teammate's success fueling the others. "Most of these girls play other sports, but a lot of them never even touched a bar before," said the former swim coach, who has been a fixture at Cardinal Mooney for two decades.

Grace Dickinson, a senior, said she enjoys the sport because of the balance between technique and power and for strength building and being part of a team.

Dickinson was glad that others have joined the team, especially since there is that nagging perception that weightlifting is for guys, which might make girls reluctant to join. She also thinks that attitude is changing.

Next year, Dickinson plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh and even though she doesn't plan to play college sports, she said she will continue to work out and weightlift through clubs because it's what she loves to do.

"Having weightlifting at school is empowering because of all the support and encouragement from our team and school," she said.

Sarah Gates, a theology teacher at the school who helps with the team, loves how the girls have embraced weightlifting as a sport.

Gates, a graduate of Cardinal Mooney, said when she was an athlete at the school, the girls weren't in the weight room at all. "Everything was running, running, running. No ab work and no upper body."

"For some girls, they might have competed as cheerleaders, or did cross-country or volleyball, but this is a new challenge. And these girls look like they belong here. It really is this girl power atmosphere, and it makes me feel so proud."

- - -

Gonzalez is editorial/online director at the Florida Catholic, newspaper of Archdiocese of Miami and the dioceses of Orlando, Palm Beach and Venice.

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Florida Catholic high school girls get a lot out of new weightlifting team

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 2:30pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jean Gonzalez, Florida Catholic

By Jean Gonzalez

SARASOTA, Fla. (CNS) -- Ashley Savigne looked intently at the barbell for her dead lift to an overhead press.

The 45-pound bar had 10-pound plates on each side. The high school sophomore at Cardinal Mooney High School in Sarasota took a deep breath and, with a look of determination, bent in the squat position. Her hips were slightly higher than her knees, as they should be. She picked up the barbell with her arms straight and extended.

Holding it steady, she was ready for the next step -- lifting it over her head. To do so, form again was critical. But at some point, she realized she made an error in form, and instead of continuing the motion incorrectly, she abandoned the lift and put the bar back down on the mat.

Loudly. And with a bit of force. So much so that she lost her balance and fell on her rear.

A little embarrassed, she started laughing at herself. But her coach, Scott Ruane, was right there to offer honest encouragement.

"Ashley you were so close. You almost got it," the Cardinal Mooney weightlifting coach said. "And if you're going to fail, fail like that."

After Ruane identified flaws in her technique, Ashley went right back to task. With fellow weightlifting teammates cheering her on, Ashley lifted the weight, her posture and technique perfect. The cheers filled the room and Ashley ended her lift with a nod to herself and a smile.

"The girls respect each other for lifting weights. It empowers them as females," Ruane said. "It gives them confidence and a powerful experience."

This is the first year the Catholic high school offered girls' weightlifting. The idea began in the summer when Ruane offered a weightlifting clinic. Years ago, the school had offered a program for girls, although not a separate team; they trained with boys. Meets were done on an informal basis because the Florida High School Athletic Association did not recognize it as a sport.

But now other high schools have teams and there are formal meets for girls' weightlifting. Seeing a renewed interest in the summer clinic and the opportunity to perform at meets, Ruane, who also helps with football, took a chance and drew a little more than a dozen girls, many of whom participate in other sports.

He speculated some of the initial interest might have just been curiosity and another outlet to socialize as a female athlete, but it took no time before team members took the sport seriously.

And although this is Ruane's first foray in teaching a sport exclusively with girl, he noticed the difference between female and male athletes.

"Girls are more meticulous in the best way possible," Ruane told the Florida Catholic, newspaper of the Orlando Diocese. "They do exactly as you say and the biggest thing about that is they develop good habits for what they are doing. They believe in learning step by step." He added that the girls on the team don't try to one-up each other, which might happen with guys in the weight room.

But Alice Smithers, assistant coach for the team, was quick to say that doesn't mean the girls aren't competitive. In a way, they drive each other, with one teammate's success fueling the others. "Most of these girls play other sports, but a lot of them never even touched a bar before," said the former swim coach, who has been a fixture at Cardinal Mooney for two decades.

Grace Dickinson, a senior, said she enjoys the sport because of the balance between technique and power and for strength building and being part of a team.

Dickinson was glad that others have joined the team, especially since there is that nagging perception that weightlifting is for guys, which might make girls reluctant to join. She also thinks that attitude is changing.

Next year, Dickinson plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh and even though she doesn't plan to play college sports, she said she will continue to work out and weightlift through clubs because it's what she loves to do.

"Having weightlifting at school is empowering because of all the support and encouragement from our team and school," she said.

Sarah Gates, a theology teacher at the school who helps with the team, loves how the girls have embraced weightlifting as a sport.

Gates, a graduate of Cardinal Mooney, said when she was an athlete at the school, the girls weren't in the weight room at all. "Everything was running, running, running. No ab work and no upper body."

"For some girls, they might have competed as cheerleaders, or did cross-country or volleyball, but this is a new challenge. And these girls look like they belong here. It really is this girl power atmosphere, and it makes me feel so proud."

- - -

Gonzalez is editorial/online director at the Florida Catholic, newspaper of Archdiocese of Miami and the dioceses of Orlando, Palm Beach and Venice.

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Gift of fidelity in marriage, priesthood is possible, pope says

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 10:21am

IMAGE: CNS photo/Vatican Media

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Unity and fidelity are indispensable cornerstones of Christian marriage, Pope Francis said.

Having two people generously come together as one and pledge lifelong faithful love must be not only "adequately explained to future newlyweds," these values also require the pastoral care of the church's ministers and members, the pope said, addressing members of the Roman Rota, a tribunal handling mostly marriage cases.

In fact, married couples who live their marriage "in generous unity and with faithful love" are "a precious pastoral help to the church" and offer everyone "an example of true love," he said Jan. 29 in an audience marking the inauguration of the Vatican court's judicial year.

These important role models teach in silence, he said, and unfortunately, "don't make headlines while scandals, separations and divorce make the news."

Today's increasingly secularized world, he said, "does not favor the growth of faith, resulting in the Catholic faithful struggling to give witness to a lifestyle according to the Gospel, including with regards to the sacrament of marriage."
 
That is why the church needs to find ways to offer adequate spiritual and pastoral support, he said.

"So that it may be a valid agreement, marriage requires that a full unity and harmony with the other be established in each future spouse so that, through the mutual exchange of their respective human, moral and spiritual riches -- almost like communicating vessels -- the two spouses become one," he said.

Unity and fidelity are not only the "two fundamental cornerstones" of marriage, but of the church of Christ itself, he said.

Pope Francis said couples need "triple preparation" that is "remote, proximate and permanent" so that they may grow in awareness of the values and commitments pertaining to marriage.

"Spouses who live in unity and fidelity reflect well the image and likeness of God," he said. "This is the good news: that fidelity is possible because it is a gift, in spouses as well as in priests."

"This is the news that should also make the faithful and loving evangelical ministry of bishops and priests stronger and more consoling," he said.

- - -

Copyright © 2019 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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