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Updated: 19 min 22 sec ago

Uptick in abuse claims likely after high-profile case brought to light

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 5:02pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob Roller

By Mark Pattison

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- An increase in calls to dioceses to report claims of clergy sexual abuse has happened before, and is likely to happen again in the wake of the credible claim lodged against Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, according to the head of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection.

Those claims and inquiries, though, won't solely be about Cardinal McCarrick, said Deacon Bernie Nojadera, executive director of the secretariat.

Deacon Nojadera said the most noticeable such example was following the Boston Globe's "Spotlight" series examining clergy sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston in early 2002. Another such example he gave was the release of the movie "Spotlight," based on the newspaper's reportage. In the film's case, though, he added, abuse reports "weren't just about clergy sex abuse, but all kinds of abuse."

Much of this results, he said, "because there's this invitation (by dioceses) to survivors to please come forward."

When they do, diocesan victim assistance coordinators realize "you only have one shot" to engage with someone reporting abuse, Deacon Nojadera said.

Deacon Nojadera, in a June 20 interview with Catholic News Service, outlined the difference between "credible" and "substantiated" claims of abuse. Both terms were used in the Archdiocese of New York's report of the complaint against Cardinal McCarrick in the 1971 incident.

"Credible" means "it could have happened," Deacon Nojadera said. "There's truth to this."

"Substantiated," though, means "there's evidence to back this up," he added. That evidence is born out in a police investigation of the incident, a practice followed by the New York Archdiocese in the complaint against Cardinal McCarrick. "There's something that points to (the fact) that this, indeed, did happen."

In his June 20 statement accepting the Vatican's directive he cease any public ministry, Cardinal McCarrick said he did not recall the incident and "believe(s) in my innocence."

The incident was 47 years ago. Given all of the reports of abuse that have been filed since 2002 when the scandal in Boston was exposed, it may seem hard to believe that there are those who still had not reported abuse.

"We've had people report abuse from the Thirties," Deacon Nojadera told CNS. Each person who was victimized by abuse gets ready to discuss it at their own time, he added, although for some "that will be a secret they keep with them and go with them to the grave."

Fear, embarrassment and shame factor into the unwillingness to report abuse. Some victims live "in a small diocese, a small town, where everybody knows everybody," he said, and are wary of reporting abuse given those circumstances.

Those who do come forward, however, will be treated "with the utmost respect" by those they contact at the diocese, the deacon said. Should there be an influx, most dioceses have forged partnerships with hospitals, mental health professionals and the Catholic Charities agencies in their dioceses to provide services a victim needs.

Just as the diocesan net has widened to offer assistance to victims, the number and kinds of people showing an interest in preventing abuse and rendering aid also has expanded. What used to be known as a "safe environment leader-victim assistance leader" conference has since been rechristened the "Child and Youth Protection Catholic Leadership Conference," with one held recently in New Orleans, attracting bishops and vicar generals.

"It's not just one or two people in a diocese, not just one or two people in a parish" who are addressing abuse, Deacon Nojadera said.

Now, with one of the highest-ranking U.S. church officials having been credibly accused of abuse, will the reporting of abuse stop anytime soon?

"I get asked this at conferences," Deacon Nojadera said. "and I tell them it will stop with the Second Coming."

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Follow Pattison on Twitter: @MeMarkPattison

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Copyright © 2018 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.

New York Archdiocese posts timeline on cardinal's ministry, abuse claim

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 4:44pm

By

NEW YORK (CNS) -- The Archdiocese of New York has posted an FAQ providing a timeline of Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick's ministry in the church, information on how the archdiocese learned of an abuse allegation against the prelate now deemed credible and the church's procedure for addressing abuse claims.

Early June 20, Cardinal McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, said in a statement he will no longer exercise any public ministry "in obedience" to the Vatican after an allegation that he abused a teenager 47 years ago was found credible. "While shocked by the report, and while maintaining my innocence," the prelate said, he said he cooperated with the investigation into the claim.

Here is the FAQ posted at https://archny.org/tm-faq:

Q: When did Cardinal McCarrick serve in the Archdiocese of New York?

A: He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York on May 1, 1958, and he remained a priest of the archdiocese until his appointment as the bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey, in 1981. While a priest of the archdiocese, his assignments included: serving as assistant chaplain, dean and director of development at The Catholic University of America in Washington (1958-1965); president of the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico (1965-1969); associate secretary for education for the archdiocese and parochial vicar of Blessed Sacrament Parish, Manhattan (1969-1971); secretary to Cardinal Terence J. Cooke (1971-1977); auxiliary bishop (1977-1981).

Q: How did the Archdiocese of New York learn of this allegation?

A: The allegation came to us through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), which was established by the Archdiocese of New York two years ago as part of its ongoing effort to renew its contrition to those who suffered sexual abuse as a minor by a priest or deacon of the archdiocese and bring a sense of healing, resolution and compensation to victim-survivors. The program is administered by Kenneth Feinberg and his associate, Camille Biros.

Q: How did the Archdiocese of New York respond to the allegation?

A: The first step was to notify the district attorney. Then, because this allegation involved a cardinal, the archdiocese contacted the Holy See, which has exclusive authority in the oversight of a cardinal. The Holy See delegated New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, as the archbishop of the diocese where the alleged abuse occurred, to investigate the matter, following the requirements of the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" and the policies of the Archdiocese of New York. This includes reporting the matter to law enforcement, and having the entire matter examined by outside professional investigators and the Archdiocesan Review Board, which found the allegation to be credible and substantiated.

Q: Can you provide details of the allegation?

A: Out of respect for the privacy of the victim, we will not release specific details about the allegation. Of course, there is no prohibition or restriction on the victim, who can choose to speak about any aspect of the case, including the allegation and how the case was handled by the IRCP, the Review Board, and the archdiocese.

Q: What happens now to Cardinal McCarrick?

A: As with all cases of substantiated abuse by a priest or deacon, the matter is now in the hands of the Holy See, which has final authority to determine what "punishment" to impose. This could range from living a life of prayer and penance, to a dismissal from the clerical state. Cardinal McCarrick has already been directed by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, that he is no longer to publicly exercise his priestly ministry.

Q: Where is Cardinal McCarrick now?

A: Cardinal McCarrick is the retired archbishop of Washington and continues to reside with them. He is 87 years old and in frail health. (He turns 88 July 7.)

Q: Isn't this all just another black eye for the Catholic Church?

A: This news will certainly be shocking and painful, especially to Catholics, and will cause many to wonder if this tragedy of abuse will ever end. At the same time, however, it should be noted that, fortunately, the policies and procedures put into place by the church are working. Although this case involves activity from nearly a half-century ago, the allegation was taken seriously, the matter was thoroughly and carefully investigated, and the decision is being publicly announced. No one, not even a cardinal, is above the law or our strict policies. The church can never be complacent, and must always do all that it can to prevent abuse, and respond with compassion, sensitivity and respect to victim-survivors who come forward. In this, it can be a model for others who are looking to respond to this sin and crime that affects all segments of society.

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Copyright © 2018 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.

DiNardo: All clergy, no matter their 'standing,' must protect children

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 1:40pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob Roller

By

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said June 20 that the all clergy in the Catholic Church "have made a solemn promise to protect children and young people from all harm."

"This sacred charge applies to all who minister in the church, no matter the person's high standing or long service," said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.

He made the comments in a statement issued in response to the announcement that Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, will no longer exercise any public ministry after an allegation he abused a teenager 47 years ago was found credible.

"This morning was a painful reminder of how only through continued vigilance can we keep that promise" of protecting children and young people, Cardinal DiNardo said, without mentioning Cardinal McCarrick by name. "My prayers are with all who have experienced the trauma of sexual abuse. May they find healing in Christ's abundant love."

He said the U.S. bishops' "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," first approved in 2002, "outlines a process for addressing allegations, holding us accountable to our commitment to protect and heal."

He expressed gratitude to New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, "who has carried forward with clarity, compassion for the victims, and a genuine sense of justice. With him, I express my deep sadness, and on behalf of the church, I apologize to all who have been harmed by one of her ministers."

Cardinal McCarrick, who turns 88 July 7, was ordained a priest of the New York Archdiocese May 31, 1958. He was named auxiliary bishop of New York in 1977. He was appointed the first bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey, in 1981 and was named archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, in 1986. He was installed as archbishop of Washington in 2001. He was made a cardinal in Feb. 21, 2001, and retired as head of the Washington Archdiocese May 16, 2006.

In his statement, Cardinal McCarrick said that Cardinal Dolan had informed him "some months ago" of the abuse allegation.

"While shocked by the report, and while maintaining my innocence, I considered it essential that the charges be reported to the police, thoroughly investigated by an independent agency and given to the Review Board of the Archdiocese of New York," Cardinal McCarrick said. "I fully cooperated in the process."

He will no longer exercise any public ministry "in obedience" to the Vatican, he said.

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Copyright © 2018 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.

Abuse allegation against Cardinal McCarrick found credible

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 10:07am

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

By

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, said he will no longer exercise any public ministry "in obedience" to the Vatican after an allegation he abused a teenager almost 50 years ago has been found credible.

"While shocked by the report, and while maintaining my innocence, I considered it essential that the charges be reported to the police, thoroughly investigated by an independent agency and given to the Review board of the Archdiocese of New York," the cardinal said in a statement June 20. "I fully cooperated in the process."

Cardinal McCarrick said that "some months ago" he was informed of the allegation by New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan.

"My sadness was deepened when I was informed that the allegations had been determined credible and substantiated," Cardinal McCarrick said.

The cardinal, who turns 88 July 7, was ordained a priest of the New York Archdiocese May 31, 1958. He was named auxiliary bishop of New York in 1977. He was appointed the first bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey, in 1981 and was named archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, in 1986. He was installed as archbishop of Washington in 2001. He was made a cardinal in Feb. 21, 2001, and retired as head of the Washington Archdiocese May 16, 2006.

MORE TO COME

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Copyright © 2018 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 supports U.S. bishops' criticism of 'immoral' immigration policy

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 9:03am

IMAGE: CNS photo/Adrees Latif, Reuters

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis said he stands with the U.S. bishops who recently condemned the Trump administration's policy on immigration that has led to children being held in government shelters while their parents are sent to federal prisons.

"I am on the side of the bishops' conference," Pope Francis said in an interview with the Reuters news agency, published online June 20. "Let it be clear that in these things, I respect (the position of) the bishops' conference."

On the first day of their June 13-14 spring assembly in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, read a statement on behalf of the bishops denouncing the government's zero-tolerance policy.

"Families are the foundational element of our society, and they must be able to stay together. While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral," the statement said.

The political rise of populist movements in both the United States and in Europe has led to a severe crackdown on men, women and children trying to escape war, violence, poverty and persecution.

In Italy, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini banned the NGO rescue ship Aquarius, with more than 600 migrants aboard, to dock and has vowed to stop any foreign boats carrying rescued migrants into the country.

Pope Francis said the current wave of populist rhetoric against migrants was "creating psychosis" and that people seeking a better life should not be rejected.

Europe, he added, is facing a "great demographic winter" and, without immigration, the continent "will become empty."

"Some governments are working on it, and people have to be settled in the best possible way, but creating psychosis is not the cure," he said. "Populism does not resolve things. What resolves things is acceptance, study, prudence."

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

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Copyright © 2018 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.

Bishops 'cannot, in good faith, endorse' new GOP immigration bill

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 4:23pm

By

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. bishops "cannot, in good faith, endorse" an immigration bill submitted by the House's Republican leadership, said Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Migration.

Bishop Vasquez said the bill would bring about "large structural changes to the immigration system that detrimentally impact families and the vulnerable." He said the new bill, still without a name or number, "contains several provisions that run contrary to our Catholic social teaching."

He made the comments in a letter dated June 18 and sent to each member of the House. It was posted June 19 on the U.S. bishops' website justiceforimmigrants.org.

Bishop Vasquez said this unnamed bill would "undermine asylum protections by significantly raising the hurdle applicants face during the 'credible fear' review, lead to increases in child and family detention ' eliminate protection for unaccompanied minors through the proposed changes to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, includes part of the DACA (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals)-eligible population but does not include same population eligible in the USA Act and the DREAM Act, make sweeping cuts to family-based immigration and unilaterally implement a safe third country agreement without a bilateral or multilateral treaty or agreement."

Nor would the bill "end the practice of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border, he added. "Instead, this bill would increase the number of children and families in detention, which is not acceptable." Bishop Vasquez reminded House members the Trump administration can end its family separation policy, without the need for legislation, at its own discretion.

Bishop Vasquez added, "We believe that any such legislation must be bipartisan, provide Dreamers with a path to citizenship, be pro-family, protect the vulnerable and be respectful of human dignity with regard to border security and enforcement."

The Uniting and Securing America Act (USA) Act, which he referenced in the letter, would protect Dreamers and strengthens border security. The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act, which he also mentioned, primarily would offer a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other Dreamers.

In the letter, Bishop Vasquez reminded House members the Trump administration can end its family separation policy without the need for legislation through its own discretion, and that an immigration bill could secure the U.S. border and ensure humane treatment to immigrant families through alternative policies.

Given the newness of the bill, "we ask for timely consideration of our concerns," Bishop Vasquez said, "particularly the cuts to family-based immigration, as well as the harmful changes to the asylum system and existing protections for unaccompanied children. Without such changes to these measures, we would be compelled to oppose it."

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, has pledged to bring both the new bill and H.R. 4760, the Securing America's Future Act, to the House floor for votes. Bishop Vasquez, in January, wrote to the House opposing H.R. 4760. In the June 18 letter, he said, "we respectfully urge you to reject" it.

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Editor's Note: The full text of the letter can be found at https://bit.ly/2I3gDFf.

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Copyright © 2018 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.

Iraqi iconographer honors his Syriac roots

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 12:45pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy of Mothana Butres

By Doreen Abi Raad

BEIRUT (CNS) -- When Islamic State fighters overran Qaraqosh, Iraq, in the summer of 2014, Mothana Butres was able to grab only a single volume from his father's collection of thousands of Syriac books and manuscripts.

The handwritten, 600-year-old book of Syriac hymns now inspires much of Butres' work as an iconographer.

From a modest walk-up apartment in Zahle, Lebanon, a city not far from the Syrian border, the Syriac Catholic iconographer and refugee creates his sacred art in a sparsely furnished living room. As he works, he sings the hymns he has committed to memory from the sole book he managed to save.

Butres is the creator of the Our Lady of Aradin icon, a centerpiece of the first Catholic shrine dedicated to persecuted Christians. The shrine is housed in St. Michael's Church in New York City and was dedicated June 12.

"The inspiration when I was working on Our Lady of Aradin was that it was the Virgin Mary who was protecting the Christians," Butres told Catholic News Service.

He chose to present Mary in the traditional wedding dress of the Aradin area of Iraq "to represent that the Virgin Mary will always be a part of the Christians in Iraq and that she is the protector of Christians in Iraq and all the Middle East," Butres said.

He said that when faced with an ultimatum by Islamic State fighters, Iraq's Christians gave up their land but refused to give up their faith.

"The people who were persecuted, their blood is a stronger message than anything I could ever convey," he said. But the recent persecution and the oppression suffered by his ancestors led him "to the way I think and the way I do my work."

Butres said he believes his icons can be an instrument for intercessory prayer. The prayers of the people who visit the shrine in New York and pray before the icon of Our Lady of Aradin are joined with those of the persecuted Christians. 

"Based on what Jesus told us, that 'if two people are gathered in my name, I will be among them,'" he said.

The Syriac book Butres treasures from his father's library collection also awakened him to the lost practice of writing books by hand, especially in the Syriac language, which is spoken by Christians in certain areas of Syria and Iraq, including Qaraqosh. Syriac also is used in the liturgy of some Eastern churches, including the Syriac Catholic, Syriac Orthodox and Maronite Catholic churches. The language is related to Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

"I'm trying to revive the value of the handwritten texts. Books used to be handwritten," Butres said.

As part of an ongoing personal project, Butres intends to write out the entire Bible in Syriac on a long scroll of leather just over a foot wide. In three months of work, the tiny, intricate text he has etched extends 16 feet in length and comprises the first five chapters of the Old Testament.

"I believe that in writing out the Bible, we can discover it in a new, deeper perspective, more than just reading it," he said.

In his icons, Butres often incorporates streams of handwritten text related to the image, which contributes to preserving the Syriac language, heritage and spirituality. The icon of Our Lady of Aradin, for example, includes the Hail Mary in Syriac.

Butres' introduction to iconography began at age 12; a deacon at his church in Qaraqosh taught him the ancient art as well as formulas for producing colors and varnishes from natural products, for example, using eggs and wine for shades of red, using beeswax for varnish and using deer musk to give the icon a scent.

Prayer and religious formation were part of Butres' daily life growing up in a Syriac Catholic family as one of 16 children. 

"We were very close to the church," said. "Every day at dusk, we went to the church to pray," he recalled, adding that for "anyone who didn't participate, there was no dinner." The same went for missing Sunday Mass: no lunch and dinner.

That pious upbringing fostered vocations, he said. One of Butres' sisters became a Dominican nun. His brother, Nimatullah, is a priest serving the Syriac Catholic Diocese of Our Lady of Deliverance, which is based in Bayonne, New Jersey. Father Butres attended the dedication ceremony for the Our Lady of Aradin shrine in New York.

The artistic Butres became a deacon at age 20 and studied theology at Holy Spirit University in Lebanon, earning a bachelor's degree.

Butres intended to complete his master's degree in theology, carrying out his research in Qaraqosh, but had to abandon all he had accomplished there when Islamic State attacked his childhood home.

That home, overtaken, gutted and ruined by Islamic State, is under repair now. From Lebanon, Butres created the Our Lady of Qaraqosh icon as a gift for his family, intending it as "a protector of the house where she was always present."

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Copyright © 2018 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.

Synod working document: Young Catholics need church that listens to them

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 9:43am

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Young Catholics are looking for a church that listens to their concerns, accompanies them in discerning their vocations and helps them confront the challenges they face, said a working document for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on young people.

The synod's "instrumentum laboris" (working document), published by the Vatican June 19, stated that young people "want to see a church that shares their situations of life in the light of Gospel rather than by preaching."

Quoting a presynod gathering of young people who met at the Vatican March 19-25, the working document said young Catholics "want an authentic church. With this, we would like to express, particularly to the church hierarchy, our request for a transparent, welcoming, honest, attractive, communicative, accessible, joyful and interactive community."

The working document is based mainly on comments solicited in a questionnaire last June from national bishops' conferences around the world as well as the final document of the presynod gathering.

An estimated 305 young adults participated in the weeklong presynod meeting, which allowed practicing Catholics and others to provide input for Pope Francis and the world's bishops, who will meet at the synod in October to discuss "young people, faith and vocational discernment." Some 15,000 young people also participated in the presynod process through Facebook groups online.

The meeting, the working document said, "highlighted the potential that younger generations represent" as well as their "hopes and desires."

"Young people are great seekers of meaning, and everything that is in harmony with their search to give value to their lives arouses their attention and motivates their commitment," it said.

Presenting the "instrumentum laboris" to journalists at a press briefing June 19, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary-general of the synod, said the synod's goal is that young Catholics may find "the beauty of life, beginning from the happy relationship with the God of the covenant and of love" in a world that often robs them of their "affections, bonds and prospective of life."

"The synod dedicated to young people gives us the opportunity to rediscover the hope of a good life, the dream of a pastoral renewal, the desire for community and passion for education," he said.

Divided into three parts, the working document outlines the church's need to listen to young people, to help guide them in the faith and in discerning their vocational calling, and to identify pastoral and missionary paths to be able to accompany them.

The responses collected by bishops' conferences around the world cited a need for ways to help young men and women confront the challenges of cultural changes that sometimes disregard traditions and spirituality.

The working document also states that while the church highlights the importance of the body, affection and sexuality, many young Catholic men and women "do not follow the directions of the sexual morality of the church."

"Although no bishops' conferences offer solutions or indications, many (conferences) believe the issue of sexuality should be discussed more openly and without judgment," it said.

Young people attending the presynod meeting said issues such as contraception, abortion, homosexuality, cohabitation and marriage are often debated both by young Catholics and non-Catholics.

The working document also highlighted the need to reaffirm church teaching on the body and sexuality at a time when biomedical advancements have pushed a more "technocratic approach to the body," citing examples such as egg donation and surrogacy.

"Moreover, precocious sexuality, sexual promiscuity, digital pornography, the exhibition of one's own body online and sexual tourism risk disfiguring the beauty and depth of emotional and sexual life," the "instrumentum laboris" said.

Church leaders, it said, must "speak in practical terms about controversial subjects such as homosexuality and gender issues, which young people are already freely discussing without taboo."

Also, "LGBT youths, through various contributions received by the secretariat of the synod, want to benefit from a greater closeness and experience greater care from the church," while some bishops' conferences are asking what they can recommend to young people who enter into a homosexual relationship, but want to be closer to the church, the document said.

Regarding the use of the initials "LGBT" in a major church document, Cardinal Baldisseri told journalists that it was a term used in one of the documents given by the bishops' conferences "and we quoted them."

"We are open. We don't want the synod to be closed in itself," Cardinal Baldisseri said. "And in the church, there are many areas, there is freedom for people to express themselves -- on the right, left, center, north and south -- this is all possible. That is why we are willing to listen to people with different opinions."

The working document also said young Catholics would like more initiatives that allow further dialogue with nonbelievers and the secular world to help them integrate their faith in their dealings with others.

Young men and women from primarily secularized areas "ask nothing from the church" and "expressly asked to be left in peace, because they feel its presence as annoying and even irritating." These feelings, the document stated, do not come from contempt but rather due to "serious and respectable reasons."

Among the reasons are the church's sexual and economic scandals, priests who do not know how to engage with young people, and the way the church justifies its doctrinal and ethical positions to modern society.

Young men and women are also hoping the church can help them "find a simple and clear understanding of the meaning of vocation," which is often misinterpreted as referring only to priesthood and consecrated life.

While the church has confirmed that marriage is also a vocation, the document confirms the need for "a youth vocational ministry capable of being meaningful for all young people."

"Called to holiness and anointed by the spirit, the Christian learns to grasp all the choices in existence in a vocational perspective, especially the central one of the state of life as well as those of a professional nature," it said.

"For this reason, some bishops' conferences hope that the synod will find ways to help all Christians rediscover the link between profession and vocation in all its fruitfulness ... and in view of the professional orientation of young people with a vocational perspective," the document said.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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

Bishops across U.S. condemn separation, detention of migrant children

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 5:37pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Callaghan O'Hare, Reuters

By Rhina Guidos

WASHINGTON (CNS) - From Denver to New York City, the country's Catholic bishops have joined a chorus of organizations, institutions and high-profile individuals urging the Trump administration to stop separating children from their parents as they seek respite in the U.S. from dire conditions in their home countries, largely in Central America.

None have been more outspoken, however, than the bishops with dioceses on or near the border between the U.S. and Mexico, where many migrants, adults as well as children, are being held in detention centers in geographic areas where many of the prelates come into contact with families affected.

"Refugee children belong to their parents, not to the government or other institution. To steal children from their parents is a grave sin, immoral (and) evil," said San Antonio's Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller June 14 via Twitter, the social media platform he has used to daily call attention to the situation.

"Their lives have already been extremely difficult. Why do we (the U.S.) torture them even more, treating them as criminals?" he continued.

In a June 5 interview with CBS News, U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions said: "If people don't want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them," meaning they shouldn't bring them along when trying to cross the border, which many do as they seek asylum. The furor over the separation of children from a parent or parents had already started in late May, before Sessions used a Bible passage to justify the actions.

Bishop Daniel E. Flores of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, said via Twitter May 31 that "separating immigrant parents and children as a supposed deterrent to immigration is a cruel and reprehensible policy. Children are not instruments of deterrence, they are children. A government that thinks any means is suitable to achieve an end cannot secure justice for anyone."

But the outrage began in earnest after the June 14 speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Indiana, when Sessions said the practice of separating families is consistent with the teachings of the Bible because "persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order."

The following day, New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan said during CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time with Chris Cuomo" that while he appreciated Sessions quoting the Bible, the quote he used was not the best.

"For one, St. Paul always says we should obey the law of the government if that law is in conformity with the Lord's law, all right?  No pun intended but God's law trumps man's law, all right?" he said.

"And St. Paul himself who gave the quote that the attorney general used, he wouldn't obey Roman law when it said it was mandatory to worship the emperor," the cardinal continued. "He wouldn't obey that law. I don't think we should obey a law that goes against what God intends that you would take a baby, a child, from their mom. I mean, that's just unjust. That's unbiblical. That's un-American. There could be no Bible passage that would justify that."

After Sessions' Bible quote, Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, also used the Bible to make a point and compared Christ's time as a refugee in the Holy Land to the migrants. 

In a June 15 statement, he compared the distance from his diocese to other localities in Guatemala and Mexico, saying that "if Jesus of Nazareth returned, as at that time, from Galilee to Judea, ... we dare say he would not get as far as Sacred Heart Church downtown (in El Paso) before being detained."

He urged Christians to think about the families fleeing and seeking asylum in the U.S., what they're going through and said that what's at stake "is the fundamental question of being Christian today, of being a person of faith today in our country and on the continent that is suffering an hour of Christ's passion."

Bishop Seitz announced a public prayerful procession "in solidarity with our sisters and brothers who continue to migrate to our border" planned for the evening of July 20 in El Paso but did not release other details. The U.S. bishops also are talking about the possibility of a delegation of prelates going to the detention centers where many children are being held.

In mid-June, The Associated Press said this year "nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their families at the U.S. border over a six-week period during a crackdown on illegal entries," according to documents from the Department of Homeland Security, which operates Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Two prelates from Colorado, Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila and Denver Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Rodriguez, repeated what other bishops have said in June 18 statement, saying that while borders must be protected, the policy of separating families is "immoral" and urged that it be terminated immediately, saying those being detained are in need of protection.

"These children and their parents are often fleeing violence and our country should not add to the inhumanity of their situation," they said.

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Dictatorships begin with taking over media to spread lies, pope says

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 12:48pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Kith Serey, EPA

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- All dictatorships begin the same way: media outlets are put in the hands of "unscrupulous" people who spread lies and weaken democracy, Pope Francis said.

Typical standards, norms and laws in regard to communications are first eliminated, the pope said in his homily June 18 during morning Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Then an entire media or communication outlet is handed over "to a firm, a business that slanders, tells lies, weakens democracy, and then the judges come to judge these weakened institutions, these destroyed, condemned people and a dictatorship makes progress this way," he said.

"All dictatorships, all of them, began like this, by adulterating communication, by putting communications in the hands of people without scruples, of governments without scruples," he added.

The pope's homily focused on the day's first reading in which Jezebel succeeds in her a plot to help her husband, King Ahab, take possession of their neighbor's land; the neighbor, Naboth, refused to sell what had belonged to his family for generations. Jezebel arranged for two men to accuse Naboth of cursing God and the king, for which Naboth was stoned to death.

Pope Francis said what happened to Naboth is similar to what happened to Jesus, St. Stephen and all martyrs who were condemned as a result of lies and falsehoods.

Today, many people, "many heads of state or government," forge the same scenario: start with a lie and "after you destroy both a person and a situation with that falsehood," there is a judgment and a conviction, he said.

Many countries, today, he added, "they use this method: destroy free communication."

But individuals, too, are also tempted to destroy others by talking behind their back, telling lies or spreading scandalous news, the pope said.

Talking about scandals is enormously seductive, he said, and "one is seduced by scandals. Good news isn't a seductress."

"The seduction of scandal in communication backs one into a corner," in that it destroys people like Naboth or St. Stephen, who was stoned to death by people who didn't want to hear the truth.

There have been "so many people, so many countries destroyed by evil and calumnious dictatorships," he said, including the ones that persecuted the Jews with "calumnious communication" so they ended up in Auschwitz.

"Oh, it was a horror, but it's a horror that happens today -- in small communities, to people, in many countries. The first step is to seize communications, and later destroy, judgment and death," he said.

 

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Pope met with brother of Chilean priest found guilty of abuse

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 11:32am

IMAGE: CNS photo/Reuters

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The brother of Chilean Father Fernando Karadima called on his brother to ask forgiveness for the hurt inflicted on those he sexually abused.

"I would ask him to be humble. Fernando, ask for forgiveness. Not in silence to God or in your prayers. Do it publicly, that people hear that you ask forgiveness for the harm you have done to victims and to everyone," Oscar Karadima said in an interview with Chilean newspaper La Tercera, published June 17.

"Fernando," he continued, "you are a man who is going to die. How can you die in this way, as a proud person who doesn't ask forgiveness? I ask you in the name of God and the most holy virgin who you always said you loved so much. I ask you in the name of my father, my mother, my two dead sisters."

Oscar Karadima also revealed that he was among the group of priests and laypeople who met with Pope Francis June 2 and spoke to him about the suffering his family endured following the revelation that his brother was found guilty of sexual abuse.

"I spoke to him about Fernando; I told him what Fernando was like with his family, with us: He was an arrogant man, authoritarian, a man we were afraid of and that even my mother was afraid of him," Oscar Karadima said.

Recalling his conversation with the pope, Oscar Karadima said his family members "were also victims of abuse of power and of conscience" by his brother. Their family name, he added, was tarnished due to the scandals.

"We are the only Karadima family in Chile. I've read on social media, 'The Karadima family are a family of degenerates, a family guilty of covering up, a family of pedophiles,'" he said.

Known as an influential and charismatic priest, Father Karadima drew hundreds of young men to the priesthood, and four of his proteges went on to become bishops, including retired Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno.

After accusations of sexual abuse came to light in 2010, the Vatican investigated Father Karadima and sentenced him to a life of prayer and penance after he was found guilty of sexual abuse.

Oscar Karadima said he also wanted to inform the pope of the four bishops who formed part of Father Karadima's inner circle and that "they were witnesses and covered up abuses."

"The pope stopped me and said, 'Speak to me about Barros.' I told him, 'Your Holiness, Bishop Barros lied. He was my brother's friend and, in a certain way, you can say he belonged to his 'iron circle,'" Oscar Karadima recalled. The pope had accepted Bishop Barros' resignation June 11. Abuse survivors have alleged that when Bishop Barros was still a priest, he witnessed their abuse by his mentor.

"Everyone knew that they were made bishops because my brother Fernando was able to make it so, through his friendship or closeness with (Cardinal) Angelo Sodano," he added.

Cardinal Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, served as apostolic nuncio to Chile from 1978-1988 and as Vatican secretary of state from 1991-2006.

Karadima recalled tearing up as he recounted his and his family's pain and that Pope Francis touched his hand and encouraged him.

After listening to him, he added, the pope grabbed a piece of paper and wrote a message for the Karadima family.

"To the family of Oscar Karadima, with my blessing and my sorrow for so much suffering that you bear. In the name of Fernando, silent and incapable of realizing (his mistakes), I ask your forgiveness," the pope wrote.

Karadima said he was moved by the pope's gesture and said it was the first time someone from the Catholic Church recognized his family's pain.

"Neither (Cardinal Riccardo) Ezzati, nor (Cardinal Francisco Javier) Errazuriz, nor anyone acknowledged our pain. That is why what I also ask for -- because no one has said it -- is justice for my family. The pope was the only one who had words of affection and consolation toward them," Oscar Karadima said.

Pope Francis has made seeking forgiveness and promoting reconciliation a priority in the fallout of the sexual abuse crisis that has rocked the Chilean church.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, president of a board of review handling abuse cases within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Father Jordi Bertomeu Farnos, an official of the doctrinal congregation, concluded their June 14-17 visit to the diocese of Osorno with a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew.

During the Mass, Archbishop Scicluna, Father Bertomeu and Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Concha Cayuqueo of Santiago, apostolic administrator for the Diocese of Osorno, kneeled before the congregation and asked forgiveness.

"Pope Francis has entrusted me to ask forgiveness for each one of the faithful of the Diocese of Osorno and all the citizens of this territory for having wounded you and profoundly offending you," Archbishop Scicluna said.

Addressing journalists after the Mass, the archbishop thanked the people of Osorno for welcoming him and said the visit was only the beginning of the journey toward reconciliation.

True reconciliation, he said, isn't achieved with a mission of a few days, but is rather a gift from God that must be accompanied by long process that requires patience, generosity and humility."

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

 

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Julie Asher, CNS national editor, wins St. Francis de Sales Award

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 4:35pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Chaz Muth

By

GREEN BAY, Wis. (CNS) -- Julie Asher is the recipient of the 2018 St. Francis de Sales Award from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada.

The award recognizes "outstanding contributions to Catholic journalism" and is the highest honor given by CPA. It was presented during a June 15 luncheon at the Catholic Media Conference in Green Bay.

"Wow. It's overwhelming," said Asher after she was handed the award.

"I can confirm there was no Russian collusion on this -- I had to say that coming here from Washington," she added.

Asher thanked her CNS colleagues, led by editor-in-chief Greg Erlandson, and his predecessors.

"I also want to thank all of you, my colleagues in the Catholic press, for what you do every single day and what you contribute to CNS. We are all workers in the vineyard; we do it every single day to tell the story of the Catholic Church," she said.

Asher noted that she didn't come from a journalism family but said she had some ink in her blood because her father was an ink salesman and sold ink to several small newspapers in eastern Colorado and western Nebraska.

"I always wanted to be a journalist and to tell stories," she said, adding that she loves what she does.

"I love what we all do in the Catholic press: We tell stories of people's faith in action, explaining what the church teaches and why, what the church says in response to the issues of the day -- immigration, racism, the environment and all manner of other things."

She pointed out that some stories are difficult to cover, for instance, the sex abuse crisis, telling the stories of the survivors and how the church is addressing it or stories of parish closings and what that means to those who call those parishes home.

But she also said there are plenty of stories that are more positive, such as what Catholics do for the poor, the marginalized, the immigrant and refugees; stories about Catholic agencies, volunteers who are there for those suffering through a natural disaster or other calamity; stories about outreach to people in the inner cities; and about the richness of Catholic life in mission dioceses.

Asher, who has been national editor of Catholic News Service for more than 20 years, coordinates all national coverage and book reviews. To many client editors, she is the first person with whom they come in contact at CNS.

Prior to working at Catholic News Service, where she started as a general assignment reporter, she was a reporter at the Scottsbluff Star-Herald daily in Nebraska and the Denver Catholic in her home state of Colorado.

Asher has been a member of the Society for Professional Journalists for more than 30 years, joining as a college student. She has had many leadership roles in the group and has been an awarded by the group for her achievements. She has presented workshops at Catholic Media Conventions and served on nominating committees for the Catholic Press Association.

She is also the CNS intern coordinator and has mentored dozens of young college students, many of whom now work at Catholic publications.

Asked about her internship for Asher's nomination submission, Colleen Dulle, former CNS intern who now works for America magazine, said Asher's "mentorship was invaluable," noting that not only did she make time for weekly meetings with interns but she also made sure they got what they hoped to experience from their internships.

"For example, I told her I wanted to report in a press pool at a large event, so Julie assigned me to a White House summit. She also pushed me out of my comfort zone, in one instance assigning me a political story that landed me my first byline in America magazine, where I am now an O'Hare Fellow. "

She also said Asher "never turned down any of my requests for letters of recommendation, showing how committed she is to helping me continue to succeed in journalism."

The other two finalists were:

-- Deacon Steve Landregan, who retired in 2016 from the Dallas Diocese, was a longtime editor of the Texas Catholic, diocesan newspaper of Dallas, and served as director of pastoral planning and research as well as diocesan archivist and historian in a career that spanned more than 50 years.

He was a founding member of the Catholic Telecommunications Network of America and in 1979 and directed the Archbishop Sheen Center for Communications, producing Catholic television and radio programming. His wide variety of Catholic communications contributions include: newspaper editor, weekly columnist, books, magazine articles, radio, television, educational television, web content, online blogs, and social media.

-- Ed Wilkinson, who took on the role of editor emeritus of The Tablet, diocesan newspaper of Brooklyn, New York, earlier this year. Wilkinson began as The Tablet's sports reporter in 1970 and was named editor in 1985.

In 1995, his column anticipating the papal visit to New York led to a personal meeting with St. John Paul II. In 2016, the CPA honored Wilkinson with first place for best editorial page or editorial section. Wilkinson also produced the television segment "The Tablet Week in Review" for 18 years. In 2011, he became the news director for the daily news show, "Currents," and four years later spearheaded live coverage of Pope Francis' visit to Cuba and the U.S.

Earlier this year, Wilkinson won the St. Francis de Sales Distinguished Communicator Award at the Brooklyn Diocese's celebration of the World Communications Day, May 9.

Last year's St. Francis de Sales Award winner was Matt Schiller, outgoing CPA president and advertising and business manager of Catholic New York.

Previous St. Francis de Sales winners from Catholic News Service include: Tom Lorsung, editor-in-chief, (1995); Jerry Filteau, reporter (2003); John Thavis, Rome bureau chief, (2007); Tony Spence, editor-in-chief (2010) and Jim Lackey, web editor (2014).

Erlandson, current CNS editor-in-chief, won the award in 2015, a year before joining the news service.

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Contributing to this report were Cindy Wooden in Green Bay and Carol Zimmermann in Washington.

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Copyright © 2018 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.

Yo-Yo Ma holds concert for peace at Chicago Catholic Church

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 12:30pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Chicago Catholic

By Joyce Duriga

CHICAGO (CNS) -- When world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma brought his Concert for Peace to St. Sabina Church for the second time June 10, there was a special feature -- five original works written with family members who lost loved ones to gun violence as a tribute to the people who died.

They are among 24 original songs created by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Negaunee Music Institute and Purpose Over Pain, a St. Sabina organization of parents who have lost a child to gun violence. All songs are available at notesforpeace.org.

The idea to create the songs came after Ma saw the memorial board outside the parish that features photos of all the people connected to the parish killed by gun violence.

Ma first visited St. Sabina in spring 2017 on a Sunday in between morning Masses. The senior pastor, Father Michael Pfleger, was told a man saying he was Yo-Yo Ma was in the church and wanted to meet him, which he thought was a joke. It wasn't.

Ma had stopped by the church on his way to the airport saying he followed the priest's work against violence and wanted to help.

"A lot of people tell me they want to help and do nothing. I always get my hopes up and wonder what's next. About two weeks later I got a call and they said 'Yo-Yo is serious. He wants to help,'" Father Pfleger said during a pre-concert news conference. "The only thing better than his talent is his spirit. He used his gift to invite people -- not to come downtown, not to the Symphony Center, not to Grant Park - but to 78th Place."

Ma, who is the Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, said he now feels part of St. Sabina and even though he doesn't live in Chicago, when he reads about the gun violence in the city he feels the pain.

So Ma and the Negaunee Music Institute asked people who lost family members to gun violence to share the stories of their loved ones and their grief and pain with songwriters and composers. The families and songwriters wrote the lyrics and composers wrote the songs. It wasn't just mothers who wrote songs but siblings and children too. Families gave some advice on the sound saying they wanted the songs to be slow and jazz-like.

All of the songs are available to hear along with photos of those who died at notesforpeace.org. In some cases, family members sang the lyrics themselves. Desiree Smith recorded a rap song about her dad, Dontee Smith.

In the case of Rolanda Lakesia Marshall, who died in 1993 at 14, her song was the lyrics of a poem she wrote.

Hardly anyone from the musicians and singers to the audience members would be unaffected when hearing the five songs performed, Ma told reporters.

"One of the singers said to me: 'You know I'm going to be a mess today, but every time I sing the 'Song for Terrell,' gradually I realize that my job is to deliver the message and I have to do it in a way that is very clear,'" Ma said. "That's the musician's role. You first empathize with someone but then you actually have to deliver the message clear so someone else gets it."

Working on the songs for their children was another step in the healing process, said Pamela Bosley, founder of Purpose Over Pain. Bosley's son Terrell, who loved to play the bass guitar, was shot and killed in 2006 at age 18.

"For most of the parents, music is a way of healing," Bosley said, whose son Trevon wrote the lyrics for "Song for Terrell," which Ma performed with members of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.

"A lot of times we hold our pain within, but if somebody sits you down and says: 'Tell me about your son and what you feel,' that allows you to express it and let it out," she said. "There were a lot of emotions with this project, a lot of crying but we made it through and with the help of God we were able to get songs."

Terrell always wanted to travel the world as a musician and now he will do that through this song, Bosley said.

"I believe in my heart that Terrell and the rest of the children are looking down on us and are happy that the orchestra and Yo-Yo Ma thought enough to write songs on behalf of our children," she said.

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Duriga is editor of the Chicago Catholic, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

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Copyright © 2018 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.

Most fundamental human right is hope, pope says

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 12:12pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Abedin Taherkenareh, EPA

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The theory that well-being will automatically flow down to everyone from the riches of the few is "a lie," Pope Francis said.

The beatitudes show the way, he said, because they show that holiness doesn't concern just the soul, "but also the feet -- for going toward our brothers and sisters, and the hands -- for sharing with them."

May the beatitudes "teach us and our world to not be wary of or leave at the mercy of the ocean waves those who leave their land, hungry for bread and justice; may they lead us to not live in excess, devoting ourselves to the advancement of everyone, kneeling with compassion before the weakest," he said June 15.

This approach, he said, comes "without the easy illusion that, from the lavish table of the few, well-being automatically 'rains down' for everyone," he said.

The pope's remarks came in an address to people taking part in a national congress of an Italian federation of expert artisans and craftsmen known in Italian as "maestri."

Pope Francis reaffirmed how important work and making a living are for each person, but he noted how so many are still excluded from today's "economic progress" and are, therefore, deprived of future prospects and hope.

"The first and most fundamental human right, for young people most of all," is hope, he said, "the right to hope."

A community that does not concretely promote jobs and cares little for those who are excluded from employment opportunities "condemns itself to atrophy" and will see increasing inequalities, the pope said.

On the contrary, a society that is guided by a spirit of subsidiarity, that seeks to bring to fruition the potential of every man and woman "of every origin and age, will truly breathe with full lung power and be able to overcome even the biggest obstacles."

To do this, work and life must be lived "like a mission" and love for one's brothers and sisters "must burn inside us with 'spiritual fuel,' which, unlike fossil fuels, never runs out, but increases with use," he said.

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Copyright © 2018 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.

Bishops' pastoral letter on racism on track for November vote

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 5:20pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob Roller

By Dennis Sadowski

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (CNS) -- A planned pastoral letter addressing racism is on schedule for a November vote by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Bishop Sheldon J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, chairman of the bishop's Ad Hoc Committee on Racism, said during the bishops' spring general assembly June 14 that the document would reflect recommendations from the various audiences that have reviewed drafts of the document.

The bishop said the document will focus on contemporary concerns affecting Native Americans and African-Americans and the "targeting" of Hispanics with racist language and actions.

Among its components, he added, the document will:

-- Reflect "grave concerns for the rise in racist expressions" in American society, public discourse and social media.

-- Address ways racism affects institutions and public policy.

-- Condemn racism and raise awareness of its impact "on all of us."

-- Assist pastors, educators, families and individuals in confronting racism.

-- Encourage honest self-reflection.

He added that recommendations that the document be "not too long" will be followed.

The pastoral letter will be rooted in the clear message of Micah 6:8, which calls on the faithful "to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God," the bishop said.

Plans are being developed to implement the document in dioceses and parishes so that people witness "the healing hand of God through it," Bishop Fabre said.

After the report, retired Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer of San Angelo, Texas, suggest that the committee incorporate listening sessions in schools beginning this fall so that young people are "aware of this critical issue."

When it comes to implementation of the pastoral letter, Bishop Pfeifer stressed, "we want people to read it," urging that supporting documents that summarize its content be prepared and distributed for families and individuals.

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Follow Sadowski on Twitter: @DennisSadowski

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Copyright © 2018 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.

Pilgrim's progress: Papal trip to Geneva marks 'new spring' in ecumenism

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 12:50pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy World Council of Churches

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis' one-day pilgrimage to Geneva will mark another major ecumenical moment in his papacy.

While he will celebrate Mass for the nation's Catholics and meet with Vatican diplomatic staff working at U.N. agencies there, the trip's major focus is highlighting the Catholic Church's commitment to seeking Christian unity and recognizing the unique contribution of the World Council of Churches.

Of his 22 apostolic trips abroad, the upcoming June 21 pilgrimage will be his second that's so intently focused on ecumenism.

In 2016, he traveled to Lund, Sweden, for a joint commemoration with the Lutheran World Federation marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation begun by Martin Luther.

This time, Pope Francis heads to Geneva -- where John Calvin led the reformation in the 16th-century -- to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the World Council of Churches.

The WCC is a fellowship of 350 member-churches, representing Protestant communities and most of the Orthodox churches in the world. In total, these member churches represent 500 million Christians worldwide, making it the broadest coalition in the ecumenical movement.

Much like the United Nations grew from the desire to avoid war and divisions through the creation of a united body that could work together for peace, the WCC also grew from a similar desire -- not of nation states, but of Christians and church communities -- to join together for the good of the world in Christ's name.

The Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the Geneva-based council and a Lutheran pastor from Norway, said he sees Pope Francis as "an impassioned colleague in proclaiming the Gospel."

The pope shows all Christians, with his words and gestures, how "they should live God's word by putting themselves at the service of the least in the world," he told the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, June 11.

The Rev. Martin Robra, who works with the WCC on relations with the Catholic Church, which is not a full member of the council, said he hoped Pope Francis' visit would foster more cooperation among Christians in helping further Christian unity, bring justice and peace to the world and aiding those in need.

"It looks like a new spring has been reached with Pope Francis and his initiatives," the theologian and evangelical pastor told the Jesuit journal, La Civilta Cattolica, early this year.

The Lund visit was a major milestone on this journey, Rev. Robra said, and Geneva represents another bright ray of hope chasing away that "ecumenical winter" of the past.

Although there are still "tensions" and "difficulties" ahead when it comes to dialogue, Rev. Robra said, "there is so much more that unites us than what separates us."

The biggest achievement to come out of the decades the Catholic Church and Christian communities have been working together may not be the different documents and agreements, Father Andrzej Choromanski, an official at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, told reporters June 12.

The real concrete sign of success, he said, is how the two sides see each other and treat each other -- no longer as enemies, but as friends.

"This, for me, is the most important," he said.

This will be the third time a pope has visited the World Council of Churches.

The first visit by Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1969 was a landmark revolution. With the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church had gone from rejecting to endorsing an active role in the ecumenical movement. The Vatican had seen the WCC as valuable partners in this new journey, first by inviting them to take part in Vatican II as observers, then establishing a joint working group between the church and the WCC in 1965.

While there were -- and still are -- serious difficulties and obstacles preventing full unity, Blessed Paul showed, as the leader of the universal church, what this ecumenical partnership could look like on the world stage.

"Geneva is one of the cities in the world where most painfully one becomes aware of the division among Christians," he said in his address June 10, 1969.

"But the atmosphere of peace and reciprocal esteem, so joyfully established in our day," allows them to see so many opportunities where they can work together, such as with helping the least and building world peace, he said.

Blessed Paul said it was "with this spirit I come to you," filled with seeking God's glory and fulfilling his will, making the pope become, in a way, a pilgrim of reconciliation.

After that gesture of cooperation, St. John Paul II visited the WCC in 1984 as a confirmation of that quest for unity, as he did throughout his pontificate.

Pope Francis' trip is another major step in this pilgrim's progress, and it will be the first papal visit to Switzerland since 1984.

Switzerland has seen an increasing trend in people professing to not be religious. A nation that was more or less half-Protestant, half-Catholic shows the same downward curve in both religious affiliations the past 40 years.

But the pope has a particularly unique way of knowing the concerns of today's young Swiss Catholics: the on-site presence of 110 Swiss guards.

With Pope Francis' special emphasis on "reality" or action being "more important than ideas," the Geneva trip reflects what he told the WCC in a 2015 message marking the 50th anniversary of the joint working group. He said they must continue with dialogue, but they must go further in promoting new ways Christians can "testify together to the real, though imperfect, communion shared by all the baptized."

"May we always trust that the Holy Spirit will continue to assist and guide our journey, often in new and sometimes unexpected ways," he said.

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Follow Glatz on Twitter: @CarolGlatz


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Bishops adopt 'pastoral response' for Asian, Pacific Island Catholics

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 12:06pm

By Dennis Sadowski

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (CNS) -- A new document focused on guiding the American church in addressing the pastoral needs of Asian and Pacific Island Catholics was approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops during their annual spring assembly.

Adopted 187-2 with two abstentions, "Encountering Christ in Harmony" is described as a "pastoral response" meant to provide support and to offer ideas for ministry to the nation's nearly 3 million Asian and Pacific Island Catholics.

Bishop Oscar A. Solis of Salt Lake City, chairman of the bishops' Subcommittee for Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, told the assembly a day before the vote that the document addresses the fastest growing minority community in the United States church and includes.

"Asian and Pacific Islanders are ready for pastoral engagement in the church's mission of evangelization," he said.

"Our approval of this document is indicative of an essential pastoral outreach to the mission of the church in the United States. It's a response to the call of Pope Francis to go to the peripheries to proclaim the Gospel," he added.

The document has been in the works for more than two years. It follows a report by a team of social scientists based on a nationwide questionnaire and online survey that asked the Asian and Pacific Island community about their pastoral needs and concerns.

It also serves as a follow-up to the USCCB's 2001 pastoral statement "Asian and Pacific Presence: Harmony in Faith," which outlined the cultural, social and ethnic diversity in the Asian and Pacific Island communities and at the same time recognized and celebrated the gifts and values common to the communities.

"The goal of this response is to make Asian and Pacific Island Catholics feel at home, both in the church and in the United States, while being able to reserve the richness of the spiritual and cultural background that they bring as contributing members to the body of Christ," the document said.

The Asian and Pacific Island community is the fastest growing in the United States, according to document.

One of every five Asian and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. is Catholic. Filipinos comprise the largest segment of the community followed by Vietnamese, Chinese and Koreans.

By design, the document does not address members of the Eastern Catholic churches except for the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Catholics with roots in India.

Scalabrinian Sister Mryna Tordillo, assistant director of the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, told Catholic News Service that "Encountering Christ in Harmony" addresses four central concerns that surfaced in the responses: identity, generations, leadership and culture of encounter and dialogue.

The document is the product of collaboration between the bishops' Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church and the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs.

Originally it was thought that "Encounter Christ in Harmony" would be a formal pastoral plan for ministry, but that as work continued, those involved decided to issue it as a pastoral response instead to guide dioceses and parishes in ministry to Asians and Pacific Islanders, Sister Myrna explained.

"The hope is that this document will assist dioceses, pastoral leaders, and other Catholic entities and Asian and Pacific Island Catholics in the pastoral care of Asian and Pacific Island Catholics wherever they are, and continue to welcome and integrate them," Sister Myrna said.

The 71-page document offers suggestions for action at the national, diocesan and parish levels.

"We the Catholic bishops of the United States, offer this pastoral response to assist diocesan and parish leaders and all the faithful in welcoming and integrating our Asian and Pacific Island brothers and sisters as they strive to live a faith-filled life in the Catholic Church," the document said in its introduction.

It acknowledged that the communities continue to confront "racial discrimination, stereotyping and the clash of values with mainstream United States culture."

Citing the call of Pope Francis to encounter Christ in one another, the document said "the cultural diversity of a community, therefore, is necessarily an integral factor in the encounter with the Gospel."

The document explained that harmony is a "very common theme in Asian and Pacific Island cultures, and therefore it makes sense that in the encounter with the Gospel, the Holy Spirit would transform this jewel of Asian and Pacific Island cultures and make it a blessing to the church."

Being Catholic is part of being Asian and Pacific Islander and it becomes important when ministering within these communities to "recognize how religion and culture are so intimately intertwined," the document said.

It also noted the challenges confronting Asians and Pacific Islanders, among them racism. It cited the Chinese Exclusionary Act of 1882 and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II as examples of racist actions. Because of these incidents, it said, for many Asian and Pacific Islanders, "the reality of being linguistically or physically different from the larger U.S. population is a constant reminder of their marginalized status."

It encourages the church at all levels to "include and invite" Asian and Pacific Islanders who may be geographically or socially isolated into ministry and church leadership. It also calls for active encouragement of religious vocations.

Suggestions for outreach include establishing resource centers, recognizing "local gifts." It encourages Asian and Pacific Islanders to seek opportunities to teach native languages and customs, share music at liturgies, decorate worship spaces or pastoral centers with native textiles and fabric and raise funds for national and international Catholic organizations that benefit the communities.

"Encountering Christ in Harmony" also acknowledges the importance of Marian devotions within the communities and urged the incorporation of Asian and Pacific Island traditional celebrations at parishes and within diocese.

Noting that family life is central to the communities, the pastoral response urges intergenerational dialogue to help the communities work through challenges posed by interfaith and intercultural marriages. It also calls for celebrating liturgies "with an ear to the youth," supporting young adult Catholic communities and planning ecumenical, interreligious and intercultural gatherings.

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Follow Sadowski on Twitter: @DennisSadowski

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Migration is about people, not numbers, pope says

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 10:55am

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Migrants seeking a better life in other countries must not be viewed with suspicion but rather defended and protected, no matter their status, Pope Francis said.

International cooperation is needed "at every stage of migration," especially for countries where higher influx of migrants "often exceeds the resources of many states," the pope said June 14 in a message to participants of the Holy See-Mexico Conference on International Migration at the Casina Pio IV, a villa located in the Vatican Gardens.

"I would like to point out that the issue of migration is not simply one of numbers, but of people, each with his or her own history, culture, feelings and aspirations. These people, our brothers and sisters, need ongoing protection, independently of what migrant status they may have," he said in the message read by Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, Vatican foreign minister.

Among the attendees at the conference were Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of State; Luis Videgaray Caso, Mexican secretary for foreign affairs; and Miguel Ruiz Cabanas, Mexican sub-secretary for foreign affairs.

Thanking participants for their work "on behalf of the needy and the marginalized in our society," the pope said the current challenges in confronting the migration crisis "demand a change in mindset."

"We must move from considering others as threats to our comfort to valuing them as persons whose life experience and values can contribute greatly to the enrichment of our society," he said.

He also called on the international community to defend the rights of migrant children and their families who are "victims of human trafficking rings and those displaced due to conflicts, natural disasters and persecution."

"All of them hope that we will have the courage to tear down the wall of 'comfortable and silent complicity' that worsens their helplessness; they are waiting for us to show them concern, compassion and devotion," he said.

In his address at the conference, Cardinal Parolin said that while most U.N. member states are continuing "paths of dialogue and negotiation" on the protection of migrants and refugees, the changing political climate "has made the issue more complex."

The steps taken so far, he added, can hopefully "reverse the logic of the globalization of indifference, replacing it with the globalization of solidarity that attends to the needs and the just expectations of people and know how to help those in the human family who find themselves in need and in situations of vulnerability."

However, the cardinal also said that people's rights to live in their land must also be protected to "avoid the flow of uncontrolled migration."

Among the concerns raised by Videgaray was the anti-migration efforts taken by the U.S. government, including the separation of families and the Trump administration's decision to abandon the U.N. Global Compact for Migration, an agreement that sought to improve the global flow of migration and refugees.

Although dismayed by the U.S. government's decision "to abandon the conversation," Videgaray said Mexico remained "undeterred" in its commitment to protect the rights and dignity of migrants.

He also expressed concerns regarding the separation of families, saying "there are 2,000 cases of children separated from their parents" in the United States.

"We understand the legal foundation of this action. However, we cannot agree to actions of this nature," he said.

After the conference's first session, Cardinal Parolin told journalists that the Vatican shared Mexico's concerns regarding policies that are "violations of rights of peoples and families."

"Unfortunately, the general atmosphere isn't the most positive, and that is why I insisted on a change of image regarding migration; from a solely negative image to a positive image."

Regarding the United States' decision to exit the Global Compact for Migration, Cardinal Parolin told journalists that "it wasn't good" and that "everyone must participate" in finding a solution to the migration crisis.

The issue of migration, he said, is a challenge that the international community cannot afford to ignore.

"It is a problem, or rather a global phenomenon, that needs everyone's participation. Nobody can turn their back," Cardinal Parolin said.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

 

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Listen to those in need, pope says in World Day of Poor message

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 10:28am

IMAGE: CNS/Tyler Orsburn

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- How is it that God in heaven can hear the cries of the poor, but so many people watching or standing nearby either cannot or just do not care, Pope Francis asked.

People must make "a serious examination of conscience to understand whether we are really capable of listening to the poor," the pope said in a message for the World Day of the Poor.

The recently established commemoration and the period of reflection and action preceding it are meant to give Christians a chance to follow Christ's example and concretely share a moment of love, hope and respect together with those in need in one's community, the pope said in the message dated June 13, the feast of St. Anthony of Padua, patron saint of the poor. The Vatican released the message to the public June 14.

The World Day of the Poor -- to be marked each year on the 33rd Sunday of ordinary time -- will be celebrated Nov. 18 this year and will focus on a verse from Psalm 34, "This poor one cried out and the Lord heard."

"We can ask ourselves, how is it this cry, which reaches all the way to God, is unable to penetrate our ears and leaves us indifferent and impassive?" the pope asked in his message.

To become aware of people's suffering and know how best to respond with love, people must learn to be silent and listen, the pope said.

"If we speak too much ourselves, we will be unable to hear them," he said.

That is often what happens when otherwise important and needed initiatives are carried out more as a way to please oneself "than to really acknowledge the cry of the poor," he said.

"We are so entrapped in a culture which forces us to look in the mirror" and unduly "pamper ourselves," he said. Such people come to believe their act of altruism is enough without having to feel any empathy or the need to sacrifice or "endanger" themselves directly.

Nobody seeks poverty or its many forms, which include marginalization, persecution and injustice, the pope said.

Poverty "is caused by selfishness, pride, greed and injustice. These are evils as old as humanity, but also sins in which the innocents are caught up, leading to consequences on the social level, which are dramatic," he said.

"God's answer to the poor is always an intervention of salvation in order to heal the wounds of body and soul, restore justice and assist in beginning anew to live life with dignity. God's answer is also an appeal in order that those who believe in him can do the same," he added.

The World Day of the Poor is meant to be a small contribution that the whole church can make so the poor may know their cries have not gone unheard, the pope said in his message.

"It is like a drop of water in the desert of poverty; and yet it can be a sign of sharing for those who are in need, that they might experience the active presence of a brother or a sister," he said.

This encounter is a call for personal involvement, not delegation to others, he said. And it is not cold, distant giving, but an act that requires "loving attentiveness" just like God offers everyone.

So many people in need are seeking the meaning of their existence and a response to their questions about "why they have fallen so far and how they can escape! They are waiting from someone to come up and say, 'Take heart; rise, he is calling you,'" the pope said.

Unfortunately, people are often repelled by, not drawn to the poor, he said. The cries of the poor are often met with rebuke and they are told, "to shut up and put up."

There is a real "phobia of the poor," who are seen not only as destitute, but also as carriers of "insecurity and instability," to be rejected and kept afar.

But this tendency to create a distance means people distance themselves from Jesus himself, "who does not reject the poor, but calls them to him and consoles them," he said.

Even though members of the Catholic Church who offer their care and assistance are motivated by their faith and the desire to share the Good News with others, he said bishops, priests, religious and lay Catholics should recognize that "in the immense world of poverty, our capacity for action is limited, weak and insufficient."

The church should cooperate with others so joint efforts can reach their objectives more effectively, he said.

The church should give freely with an attitude of humility, "without seeking the limelight," he said.

"In serving the poor, the last thing we need is a battle for first place," he said. The poor don't need heroes, but a love which knows how to remain hidden from worldly recognition, he said.

"The true protagonists are the Lord and the poor," and those who serve are mere instruments "in God's hands in order to make manifest his presence and salvation."

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, told reporters the pope hopes the day will remind everyone in the church to turn their gaze to the poor, truly listen to their needs and respond directly with love in a way that aims to restore their dignity.

Local churches, associations and institutions are again asked to creative initiatives that foster moments of real encounter, friendship, solidarity and concrete assistance.

The archbishop said the pope will celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Basilica Nov. 18 with the poor and volunteers, and he will have lunch afterward with about 3,000 people in the Vatican's Paul VI audience hall. Other volunteer groups and schools were also set to offer free meals in an atmosphere of "celebration and sharing," he added.

Medical tents and mobile clinics will again be set up in the square adjoining St. Peter's Square Nov. 12-18, with extended evening hours until midnight for some services, he said. Anyone in need can find general and specialist care, including cardiology, dermatology, gynecology and ophthalmology.

 

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At meeting in Florida, U.S. bishops decry Sessions' asylum decision

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 12:07pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jim Lo Scalzo, EPA

By Dennis Sadowski

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (CNS) -- The U.S. bishops June 13 decried U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision that asylum seekers fleeing domestic or gang violence cannot find protection in the United States.

"At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life," the bishops' statement said. They urged the nation's policymakers and courts "to respect and enhance, not erode, the potential of our asylum system to preserve and protect the right to life."

Sessions' decision "elicits deep concern because it potentially strips asylum from many women who lack adequate protection," it said. "These vulnerable women will now face return to extreme dangers of domestic violence in their home country."

The statement from the bishops came on the first day of their June 13-14 spring assembly in Fort Lauderdale.

Just after opening prayers, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, read the statement from the dais, and the bishops voiced their support.

Announced by Sessions at a June 11 news conference, the decision "negates decades of precedents that have provided protection to women fleeting domestic violence," it said. "Unless overturned, the decision will erode the capacity of asylum to save lives, particularly in cases that involve asylum seekers who are persecuted by private actors."

The attorney general reversed an immigration court's decision granting asylum to a Salvadoran woman who said she had been abused by her husband. He said U.S. asylum laws cannot be used to remedy "all misfortune," including violence someone suffers in another country or other reasons related to an individual's "social, economic, family or other personal circumstances."

In his remarks, Cardinal DiNardo also said he joined Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Migration, "in condemning the continued use of family separation at the U.S./Mexican border as an implementation of the administration's zero tolerance policy."

"Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma," the cardinal said. "Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together.

"While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral."

During the morning session, the U.S. bishops also heard a report from Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Vatican nuncio to the United States.

He talked about the need of church leaders to not just hear young people but to really listen to them, emphasizing that this is what Pope Francis often talks about it.

The nuncio talked about the encuentro process currently underway in the U.S., using it as a strong example of the church listening to the faithful

Regional encuentros are taking place all over the country. There delegates outline priorities that will shape Hispanic ministry for years to come. The regionals lead to the National Fifth Encuentro, or V Encuentro, to be held in Texas in September. Archbishop Pierre also talked about the church's upcoming Synod of Bishops on young people.

"Young people need to be a priority of the church" today, the nuncio said, "not just for the future of the church. ' Young people express a desire of an intentional knowing encounter in Christ rather than a faith reduced to ' moralism."

"I believe many young people desire wholistic formation. They want the church to facilitate an encounter with Jesus," he said. Such an encounter "provokes the question 'What interests me in life' and leads to works of justice and mercy and to live life ' with great intensity while loving their neighbor."

"Young people want to engage in reality" but do not want to be on that journey alone, he added. "They are searching for a strong sense of belonging."

Also on the agenda for their first day were reports from Father David Whitestone, chair of the bishops' National Advisory Council, which is marking the 50th anniversary of its formation, and from Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, which oversees implementation of the U.S. bishops' "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People."

Other reports covered the V Encuentro and the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment, which will take place at the Vatican in October.

The bishops also heard preliminary presentations on several action items they will be voting on, including:

-- Revised guidelines governing Catholic and non-Catholic health care partnerships the audits. The revisions are limited to Part 6 of the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services," the document that governs moral questions related to the delivery of health care.

-- A new document described as a "pastoral response" to the growing Asian and Pacific Island Catholic community in the United States. "Encountering Christ in Harmony" offers pastoral suggestions to address the concerns and needs of Asian and Pacific Island Catholics.

-- Revisions in language to clarify seven of the 17 articles in the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young Adults." The changes offer more specific language in several areas. Article 4 has been revised to protect the seal of the sacrament of reconciliation. Changes in Articles 6 and 12 specifically state that all people who have contact with minors rather than those in positions of trust "will abide by standard of behavior and appropriate boundaries." In all, seven changes have been proposed for a vote by the bishops.

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