Catholic News Headlines

Parish priests subscribe to the digital age

Catholic Register Canada - News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 3:06 PM
As more people begin to congregate in digital public squares, the Church’s shepherds are looking for more ways to tend to their flock online. Luckily, there is an app for that — actually, many apps.

That’s good news for clergy, who have a growing urgency to harness technology tools, as well as plug into social media via live-streaming and podcasting, to ensure the Church keeps up in the fast-changing cybersphere.

“Other denominations, they are at least 10 or 15 years ahead of us with mass media and social media,” said Fr. Laszlo Nagy, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Whitby, Ont. “All my staff attended webinars from other denominations and these are the tools that they are using.”

The challenge to the Church to widen its digital reach is being felt world-wide and, perhaps especially, in Rome.

Pope Francis and the Vatican set an example with various online strategies, including three different apps (including The Pope App) and regular Francis videos. The Vatican has four million followers between its Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram platforms, according to figures released this month. The Pope’s own Twitter account has more than 44 million followers in nine languages.

Nagy is currently working with the Archdiocese of Toronto to pilot test the myParish app, a communications hub which allows pastors and parishioners to stay connected.

“We use it for conversation, engage the people to get involved in conversation,” he said.

It is just one of many apps that have emerged over the last several years as the Church grapples both with technology and in the never-ending task of keeping parishioners engaged with their faith.

“Even in the last four or five years social media changed our thinking and our attitude,” said Nagy. “And this is what I’m talking about sometimes in my homily, how social media is changing even our faith.”

Nagy remembers when he first came to Holy Family Parish in 2008 and the church didn’t even have Internet. Since then, he feels as though he and his staff have been playing catch-up, attending workshops to learn how they can bring the Church’s message online.

If the Church wants to be relevant in today’s technological age, Nagy said, it must transform from being a maintenance Church to a missionary Church.

“The maintenance Church is when we are just here and we wait for the people to come. … I baptize you, I sacramentalize you and I catechize you and that’s it,” he said. “The missionary Church, it means we go out and we give testimony of our faith…. And through our testimony, hopefully, we may gather the scattered and return them to Christ.”

Nagy announced the launch of the parish’s myParish page from the pulpit on Dec. 2, the first Sunday of Advent.

Through the U.S.-built app, parishioners have access to daily readings, Mass times, event calendars and weekly bulletins in digital format. Nagy and the parish staff have also tried new features, such as parish group discussion boards, “homily teasers” and a parish blog.

The parishioners seem to be embracing the app well, said Nagy. Since the parish launched the free app, more than 1,200 of the parish’s 5,600 households have registered.

Most of them are the tech-savvy young people, but parish staff have also provided help for older parishioners on how to use the app.

“There are many of (older parishioners) who are afraid to set up accounts,” said Nagy. “They are not open, people of a certain generation, to have any kind of apps because they don’t want to give out personal information.”

If the trial succeeds, the Archdiocese of Toronto is looking at the possibility of adopting the app for all 221 parishes. The Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall adopted the myParish app for its 27 parishes last year.

Nagy said he is excited about the potential of the app because it is time the Church started catching up with the times and preach from the digital, as well as church, pulpit.

Fr. John Jasica live-streams three of the four Masses at St. George Parish in London, Ont.

“When we take a look at what people are using in terms of social media and all that, we have to be relevant in those areas,” said Jasica. “In the last year and a half, we’ve live-streamed some of our Masses for our homebound ... but also as a form of evangelization. We’ve had people from different parts of the world that would tune in.”

Jasica and the parish staff also run two podcasts. Faith & Works is an online parish book club hosted on the parish website. Every week, Jasica offers commentary on a chapter of Matthew Kelly’s Rediscover Catholicism.

The second podcast is his own, where he posts Sunday homilies and what he calls “homily warm-ups” during the week as preparation for Sunday Mass.

“My iPhone is always close by, whether it’s for emergency calls or for the apps that I use,” said Jasica. “For Liturgy of the Hours and praying every day (apps are) very convenient because you don’t have to flip pages or anything…. In the parish, we’ve really used Facebook and Twitter as opportunities for sharing parish events but also encouraging people to deepen their faith.”

Fr. Chris Pietraszko also likes to keep his phone nearby. He said it’s like walking around with an entire library in his back pocket.

“It’s very convenient in that way because you don’t have to run back to the office if you want to spend some time in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament,” said Pietraszko, who is associate pastor at Corpus Christi Parish in Windsor, Ont. “The one thing I always try to do, though, is if I’m going to use these resources, I make sure I’m not distracted.”

Pietraszko runs his own podcast named after Pope John Paul II’s 1998 encyclical, Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason). Every week, he places his iPhone (set to airplane mode to ensure it does not receive a call or text message) on the podium to record his homilies.

He also posts reflections from catechism classes he teaches at his parish called “The School of Faith and Reason” and occasionally he interviews special guests.

“I pay for (the podcast) myself. It doesn’t come out of the parish,” said Pietraszko. “It’s kind of making the ability to evangelize a little more widespread and so I think it’s a very positive force in the Church.”

Facebook and Twitter remain the bread and butter apps for Pietraszko’s parish, as with many tech-savvy parish communities. With social media, the lay faithful have access to both local and international communities.

Fr. Alex Laschuk, associate judicial vicar at the Marriage Tribunal office in the Archdiocese of Toronto, said that while it is important for the Church to take advantage of these tools, priests must be careful about how they use these new media.

“The Church is not a democracy and sometimes a priest with 20,000 followers or whatever can have some opinions that can be very popular and sometimes, can be maybe not appropriate,” said Laschuk. “So those are some things to be cautious about.”

House passes protections for abortion survivors

CNA General News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 3:00 PM

Washington D.C., Jan 19, 2018 / 01:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- As the annual March for Life began just blocks away from the U.S. Capitol on Friday, the House of Representatives passed a bill requiring medical care for babies surviving botched abortions.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protections Act requires physicians and abortion clinics to provide proper medical treatment for babies born alive after an abortion.  The bill mandates fines and the possibility of imprisonment for medical professionals found to be noncompliant.  

“Justice and compassion took a great leap forward today,” Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List said of the bill’s passage..  

“We thank Leader McCarthy and our allies in the House for holding a timely vote on this crucial bill, as hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans rally at Congress’ doorstep,” Dannenfelser said in a Jan. 19 press release.  

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), says that abortionists would be required to provide to meet the same standards of care for a child surviving an abortion as would be expected for infants of the same gestational age who were not subjects of an abortion. The law would also specifically require surviving babies to be transported to a hospital.

Women undergoing abortion could not be prosecuted under the law’s provisions, but it would give them a cause for a lawsuit if the a child surviving an abortion was uncared for.  

A bill already exists which orders medical professionals to provide emergency care for the infants who survive late term abortions, but the problem, according to Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), is that the current bill has little power to be enforced.  

“The problem with existing law, Mr. Speaker, is enforcement—the lack of legal implications,” Smith said on Jan. 18 in a speech on the House floor.

“The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act...requires appropriate health care to be given to any child who survives an attempted abortion,” Smith added.

Every Republican in Congress voted for the bill, as did six Democrats.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) was among Democrats opposing the bill, stating there was little evidence that doctors aren’t already providing health care for babies born after failed abortions.

“There is no evidence at all that doctors currently are failing to provide an appropriate level of care,” he said during the bills debate on Jan. 19.

But Smith said there is no evidence for the problem because it is swept under the rug. He cited Willard Cates, M.D., former head of the Centers of Disease Control Abortion Surveillance Unit.

“[Live births] are little known because organized medicine, from fear of public clamor and legal action, treats them more as an embarrassment to be hushed up than a problem to be solved. It’s like turning yourself in to the IRS for an audit,” Smith said, quoting Dr. Cates.

The legislation needs 60 votes to pass through the Senate, which has not yet passed a ban on abortions of 20 weeks of pregnancy, passed by the House last year.

“We urge the Senate follow their colleagues’ lead and pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act as well as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would end cruel late-term abortions after five months of pregnancy,” Dannenfelser said.

In his remarks supporting the bill, Smith encouraged Americans to continue working to end abortion.  From the House floor, he offered “a call to increased prayer and fasting asking God to protect the weakest and most vulnerable and to heal.”


Archbishop Follo: Conversion to Love to Serve Him in the Mission

Zenit News - English - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 2:26 PM

Roman Rite – Third Sunday of Ordinary Time – Year B – January 21, 2018

Jon 3, 1-5.10; Ps 25; 1Cor 7, 29-31; Mk 1: 14-20


Ambrosian Rite – Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Nm 11, 4-7. 16th. 18-20. 31-32a; Ps 105; 1Cor 10.1-11b; Mt 14: 13b-21


1) Conversion and good news.

Today, the liturgy of the Mass proposes a passage from the evangelist St. Mark who – with a bare and essential style – summarizes the whole message of Jesus Christ with the words “the Gospel of God”. This divine, good and happy news is proclaimed in Galilee, a region bordering the land of the pagans. In this way, it is underlined the perennially missionary dimension of the announcement. The grandiose novelty of the expression “Gospel of God” risks escaping us who are far from the experience of the first readers of Saint Mark.

The Greek word “gospel” is translated with the expression “good news”. It sounds good, but it remains far below the magnitude of the word “gospel”. This word belongs to the language of the Roman emperors who considered themselves lords of the world and its saviors and redeemers. The proclamations emanating from the emperor were called “gospels”, regardless of whether their subjects were happy news or not. What comes from the emperor – it was the underlying idea – is a salvific message, not simply news but the transformation of the world towards the good.

Writing the “Gospel of God”, St. Mark teaches that emperors are not the saviors of the world. The true savior is Jesus whose name means “God saves”. Christ is the Word of God and he is manifested as an effective word. In Him and for Him really happens what the emperors claimed without being able to realize.

Therefore, a “Gospel” is no longer the announcement of the victory of a powerful one over his enemies. The “Gospel of God” is not the proclamation of the victory of a strong man who has defeated a weak man. It does not concern the joy of someone and the crying of others. The “Gospel of God”, the happy announcement, no longer concerns the powerful in turn. The happy “good news” is proclaimed by Jesus, meek and humble at heart. This good news is proclaimed in the name of God-Love, it is God himself who in Christ makes himself present in the world and in history.

The phrase: “Proclaiming the Gospel Jesus said: ‘Time is complete and the kingdom of God is near; convert and believe in the Gospel “(Mk 1: 14) could be reformulated as follows:” Proclaiming the good news, Jesus said:” The auspicious time has come. The Kingdom of God is near. Convert and believe in the good news’ “.

The meaning of this sentence is not: “Make your moral conversion and then believe in the good news”, but rather “Accept the good news with living faith. Doing so, all your way of thinking, wanting, and acting will be changed “. Let us become converted to Christ by recognizing him as the Way, the Life, and the Truth, and as the person in whom the Father makes visible all his love.

In short, if we convert by changing our mind and heart we can believe in the joyful and good news that God is among us. In a sense, to convert is to see beyond, to have a look that goes beyond. In fact, the word converting translates the Greek word which literally means “looking beyond”, therefore, understanding beyond appearances the true meaning of things.

Also St. John the Apostle and Evangelist introduces the commandment of conversion that asks to love the others as Christ loved us, with the power of the Gospel of joy and with the announcement of the good news: “I have told you these things, so that my joy dwell in you and your joy be full. This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you “(Jn 15: 11-12).

If we are converted to Christ, who invites us to abide in him to make his glad tidings dwell in us, we will always better understand that the true meaning of God’s commandment is not to be an imposition but a communication of love. The “command” to convert is an invitation of love, which Christ addresses to his disciples so that they can enter into communion with him and accept his offer of friendship.

In short, Christian conversion is not so much a new relationship to an imperative or new ideas but a personal relationship with Jesus, who proposes his friendship allowing a welcoming that is festive, humble, and grateful of the saving truth


2) Conversion and the following of Christ.

If conversion is to dwell in Christ and follow Him, it means that this “being in Him” is a verb of movement. There is an idea of movement in conversion, as in the motion of the sunflower which every morning raises its corolla and sets it on the paths of the sun. “To convert” means “to turn towards” the light because the Light is already here.

In fact, communion with Him implies following Him. Christ is not so much a Word to hear or to read. He is the Logos, that is, the Word that gives meaning (understood as direction) to our life and light to our steps.

When St. Mark writes that Jesus “passing along the Sea of Galilee saw Simon and Andrew, Simon’s brother,” He said to them: ‘follow me'”. He did not say: “Learn” because the first characteristic of the Christian disciple is to “follow”. In fact, the verb, which usually accompanies the word disciple, is to learn. Instead, using the verb to follow, the Gospel emphasizes that, in the first place, there is not a doctrine but a way of living that implies walking with the Master, identifying oneself in him.

The evangelical following is never a call to stand still but to walk. The evangelical call is an invitation to go out, to go towards the world and the mission. If the following does not imply a “going after Christ”, it means that we only follow ourselves. The evangelical sequela is different from those sequences that instead invite to separate from the others and withdraw in ourselves.

Thus, the novelty of existence begins: going after Christ who calls and proposes himself as the path to life for his disciples, we included.

Jesus sees and speaks to two people, the quality of the relationship he initiates is a sign of the novelty of Love. “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men” means that Jesus asks Simon and Andrew to convert not doing who knows what, but following him and making sure that the mission of salvation of Christ becomes their vocation.

The vocation to conversion is to enter into a relationship with him, to let be loved by him and to take his love and his truth into the world. Jesus asks to respond to his Love: Jesus loves and asks to be loved. Here it is: the novelty of history is the beginning of the relationship of Love, aimed at tasting Love and introducing Love in every moment, in every action in which life unravels. This is the “conversion” that Jesus asks: not making life a means to do things, but living life in such a Love so that everything lives.


3) The sequela of the consecrated Virgins.

An example of living the reality of disciples following Christ is given to us by the consecrated Virgins. With their gesture of offering themselves to the Lord Jesus, these women testify that following Christ is to imitate Jesus chaste, poor, and obedient, begging him to be made capable of loving with His love, of giving with His Heart, of serving with His light, and of working with His gifts.

With their consecrated life they testify, first of all, that the initiative belongs to Christ and that his call is free. Secondly, they show that it is possible to respond to the call of Jesus even if it involves such a radical and profound separation that St. Mark speaks of abandonment of the father and of the work. Abandoning the trade and the family is like being uprooted. But it is worthwhile because in this way one can root oneself in Christ.

Their life pushes us to make our own the prayer that the priest today says at the beginning of the Mass: “O Father, who in your Son have given us the fullness of your word and your gift, let us feel the urgency of convert us to you and to adhere with all our soul to the Gospel, so that our life may also announce to the doubtful and distant the only Savior, Jesus Christ “.

Following the example of the consecrated Virgins, each of us, every morning, at every awakening, is able to say: “I too can ‘convert’, I can and must move thoughts, feelings, and choices towards God so that He may enter more into my heart and that of the world.


Patristic reading

Golden Chain

on Mc 1:16-20
Gloss.: The Evangelist, having mentioned the preaching of Christ to the multitude, goes on to the calling of the disciples, whom He made ministers of His preaching, whence it follows, “And passing along the sea of Galilee, &c.”
Theophylact: As the Evangelist John relates, Peter and Andrew were disciples of the Forerunner, but seeing that John had borne witness to Jesus, they joined themselves to him; afterward, grieving that John had been cast into prison, they returned to their trade.
Wherefore there follows, “casting nets into the sea, for they were fishers.”
Look then upon them, living on their own labors, not on the fruits of iniquity; for such men were worthy to become the first disciples of Christ; whence it is subjoined, “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after Me.”
Now He calls them for the second time; for this is the second calling in respect of that, of which we read in John. But it is shewn to what they were called, when it is added, “I will make you become fishers of men.”
Remig.: For by the net of holy preaching they drew fish, that is, men, from the depths of the sea, that is, of infidelity, to the light of faith. Wonderful indeed is this fishing! for fishes when they are caught, soon after die; when men are caught by the word of preaching, they rather are made alive.
Bede, in Marc., 1, 6: Now fishers and unlettered men are sent to preach, that the faith of believers might be thought to lie in the power of God, not in eloquence or in learning. It goes on to say, “and immediately they left their nets, and followed Him.”
Theophylact: For we must not allow any time to lapse, but at once follow the Lord. After these again, He catches James and John, because they also, though poor, supported the old age of their father.
Wherefore there follows, “And when He had gone a little farther thence, He saw James, the son of Zebedee, &c.”
But they left their father, because he would have hindered them in following Christ. Do thou, also, when thou art hindered by thy parents, leave them, and come to God. It is shewn by this that Zebedee was not a believer; but the mother of the Apostles believed, for she followed Christ when Zebedee was dead. (p. 23)
Bede: It may be asked, how he could call two fishers from each of the boats, (first, Peter and Andrew, then having gone a little further, the two others, sons of Zebedee,) when Luke says that James and John were called to help Peter and Andrew, and that it was to Peter only that Christ said, “Fear not, from this time thou shalt catch men;” (Lc 5,10) he also says, that “at the same time, when they had brought their ships to land, they followed Him.”
We must, therefore, understand that the transaction which Luke intimates happened first, and afterward that they, as their custom was, had returned to their fishing. So that what Mark here relates happened afterward; for in this case they followed the Lord, without drawing their boats ashore, (which they would have done had they meant to return,) and followed Him, as one calling them, and ordering them to follow.
Pseudo-Jerome: Further, we are mystically carried away to heaven, like Elias, by this chariot, drawn by these fishers, as by four horses. On these four corner-stones the first Church is built; in these, as in the four Hebrew letters, we acknowledge the tetragrammation, the name of the Lord, we who are commanded, after their example, to “hear” the voice of the Lord, and “to forget” the “people” of wickedness, and “the house of our fathers’ ” (Ps 45,10) conversation, which is folly before God, and the spider’s net, in the meshes of which we, like gnats, were all but fallen, and were confined by things vain as the air, which hangs on nothing; loathing also the ship of our former walk.
For Adam, our forefather according to the flesh, is clothed with the skins of dead beasts; but now, having put off the old man, with his deeds, following the new man we are clothed with those skins of Solomon, with which the bride rejoices that she has been made beautiful (Ct 1,4).
Again, Simon, means obedient; Andrew, manly; James, supplanter (ed. note: Cf. vol i, 139, 140, 364); John, grace; by which four names, we are knit together into God’s host (ed. note: Al. ‘in imaginem’); by obedience, that we may listen; by manliness, that we do battle; by overthrowing, that we may persevere; by grace, that we may be preserved. Which four virtues are called cardinal; for by prudence, we obey; by justice, we bear ourselves manfully; by temperance, we tread the serpent underfoot; by fortitude, we earn the grace of (p. 24) God.
Theophylact: We must know also, that action is first called, then contemplation; for Peter is the type of the active life, for he was more ardent than the others, just as the active life is the more bustling; but John is the type of the contemplative life, for he speaks more fully of divine things.







March for Life hears praise from President Trump

CNA General News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 2:11 PM

Washington D.C., Jan 19, 2018 / 12:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- President Donald Trump praised the pro-life movement’s support for pregnant women and touted his administration’s pro-life policy achievements in his remarks to the March for Life Friday.
“You come from many backgrounds, many places, but you all come for one beautiful cause: to build a society where life is celebrated, protected and cherished,” he told the March for Life Jan. 19 via videocast. “The March for Life is a movement born out of love.”
“You love every child, born and unborn, because you believe that every life is sacred, that every child is a precious gift from God,” he told the marchers on the National Mall while speaking before an audience in the White House Rose Garden. “Because of you, tens of thousands of Americans have been born and reached their full God-given potential. Because of you.”
Hundreds of thousands of people were in Washington, D.C. to attend this year’s March for Life, which is in its 45th year. The theme of this year’s march is “Love Saves Lives.” The march is held annually on or near the anniversary of the Jan. 22, 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision which mandated permissive abortion laws nationwide.

The president said he was “honored and really proud” to address the march. While previous presidents addressed the march while in office by phone or remote loudspeaker, organizers said he is the first president to do so via telecast.
Trump said the Roe decision resulted in “some of the most permissive abortion laws anywhere in the world,” making the U.S. comparable to countries like China and North Korea in permitting late-term abortions.
“It is wrong, it has to change,” he said. “Americans are more and more pro-life.”
Trump promised that his administration would always defend the right to life.

He touted his re-implementation of the Mexico City Policy, which bars federal funds for groups that perform or promote abortion overseas, and cited his administration’s reversal of an Obama-era policy that restricted state’s efforts to direct federal dollars away from “facilities that violate the law.” He voiced strong support for a House bill to ban late-term abortions in which supporters say the unborn child can feel pain. Trump called on the Senate to “pass this important law.”
He also cited his executive order protecting religious liberty and an effort to protect conscience rights and religious freedom of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals.
The president also introduced Marianne Donaido, a woman whose parents supported her when she became pregnant at the age of 17. He praised her work with Room at the Inn, a Greensboro, N.C.-based maternity program that helps house and support pregnant homeless women. The charity is affiliated with Catholic Charities USA.
In a separate Jan. 19 statement, Trump declared that Jan. 22, the anniversary of the Roe decision, will be National Sanctity of Human Life Day, “to affirm the truth that all life is sacred, that every person has inherent dignity and worth, and that no class of people should ever be discarded as ‘non-human’.”
Vice President Mike Pence, who addressed last year’s March for Life in person, introduced Trump in the Rose Garden. He said the Roe Supreme Court decision “turned its back on the right to life” but began the pro-life movement that continues today, a movement defined by “compassion and love.”
“Life is winning in America, because love save lives,” he told the march. “Your compassion, your persistence your activism and your prayers are saving lives… this pro-life generation should never doubt that we are with you.”
“This president stands with you,” he said, contending that Trump was “the most pro-life president in American history.”
Trump once declared himself “pro-choice in every respect,” but increasingly advocated anti-abortion views ahead of and during his 2016 election campaign, Politico reports.
Other political leaders at the March for Life rally were House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other Members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.).
In previous years Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush addressed the March for Life remotely.

'My mother was told to abort me', priest says to March for Life youth

CNA General News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 1:56 PM

Washington D.C., Jan 19, 2018 / 11:56 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Father Martino Choi told some 18,000 teens and adults about his mother's decision in favor of life at a Youth Rally and Mass for Life held in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.

“I know a woman who went in for her ultrasound, and was told by the doctors that the child’s organs were not developing properly. The child would probably not make it a year after birth, and they recommended abortion,” Fr. Choi said during his homily at the Capital One Arena Jan. 19.

“This woman is my mother, and I am that child,” he stated.

Choi is a parish priest at St. Patrick's parish in Rockville, Md., about 20 miles northwest of the District of Columbia. He said the doctors had told his mother that abortion would shield him and her from unnecessary suffering. He continued: “The devil knows who to disguise evil with a lie that somehow death is better than life … but death is never better than life.”

The young priest also shared stories from his parish where he has counseled parents who lost a child between days and months after the child's birth.

“Not a single one of those families comes to me and says, ‘You know what, Father, we wish we hadn’t had this child. We wish we hadn’t had to suffer through this.’ None of them say that. They all say, ‘Thank God that we got to love this child, even if it was just for a couple of days.'”

“One family, whose kid never left the hospital, said that in his three months of life their son taught them the depths of love and courage that we could not understand before his birth…”

These stories resonated with the teens at the Mass for Life, who came from dioceses both across the U.S. and internationally.

“I thought that it was really amazing,” Kelly Lambers, a high school student from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, told CNA. “His mother didn’t give him up even though she knew he didn’t have that long to live, but now look at him; he’s a priest!”

Lambers traveled nine hours by bus with her classmates from Mother of Mercy High School to attend the rally and the March for Life. She said she is particularly proud of her friends’ signs that read, “Pro-Life is Pro-Women.”

Tajil Baptiste, a young man from the U.S. Virgin Islands, also shared why he and his friends traveled to D.C. for the March for Life: “It is a a religious event for us, traveling so far from a little island, but the message that we will be bringing back to our community and our Church is ‘Let’s be pro-life, let’s change the world.’”

There were nearly 200 priests, 20 bishops, and three cardinals concelebrating the youth Mass, according to the Archdiocese of Washington. Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington was the principal celebrant.

“We are gathered here to proclaim the value, the worth, and the dignity of all human life,” Cardinal Wuerl told the crowd before the Mass.

The Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Christophe Pierre, shared a message from Pope Francis with the youth and extended an invitation to tag the Holy Father as they stand up for life on Twitter and Instagram using #iStand4Life.

After the Mass for Life, the youth groups walked from the Capital One Arena to the National Mall for the March for Life.

Get an Education, Pope Tells Youth at Home for Abandoned Children

Zenit News - English - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 1:41 PM

Pope Francis had simple — but profound — messages for young people on January 19, 2018, when he visited Hogar El Principito (“the Home of the Little Prince”), a home for young and abandoned children.

“I would like to encourage you to study,” he said. “Get an education, take advantage of the opportunities you have for schooling. The world needs you, young men and women of the first peoples, and it needs you as you are.”

The Pope spoke before the boys and girls and several hundred people who support the home.  The children provided music, testimonials and a re-enactment of key points in the region’s history.

“Do not be content to be the last car on the train of society, letting yourselves be pulled along and eventually disconnected,” the Holy Father stressed. “We need you to be the engine, always pressing forward.”

He also encouraged the youth to listen to their elders and value their traditions.  “Do not curb your curiosity. Get in touch with your roots, but at the same time open your eyes to new things; bring the old and the new together in your own way.”

The Pope said it was important for the youth to be “who you really are” because “we need you to be authentic, young men and women who are proud to belong to the Amazonian peoples and who can offer humanity an alternative for a true life.”

Taking note that some of the young people come from native communities, Francis decried the destruction of woodlands they had witnessed.  He recalled that their elders had found food and medicine in those places, but now “those woodlands have been laid waste by the intoxication of a misguided notion of progress.”

He continued: “The rivers that hosted your games and provided you with food are now muddied, contaminated, dead. Young people, do not be resigned to what is happening! Do not renounce the legacy you have received from your elders, or your lives and dreams.”

“The young of the first people” can play an important role in the future by teaching the rest of society “a way of life based on protection and care, not on the destruction of everything that stands in the way of our greed,” according to the Pope.

The Pope’s Address at the Home

The world needs you, Francis tells young people at children's home

CNA General News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 1:35 PM

Puerto Maldonado, Peru, Jan 19, 2018 / 11:35 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Speaking to kids at a home for orphaned and abandoned children on Friday, Pope Francis said they have much to offer the world by being themselves and sharing their experiences.

“The world needs you, young men and women… and it needs you as you are. Do not be content to be the last car on the train of society, letting yourselves be pulled along and eventually disconnected. We need you to be the engine, always pressing forward,” the Pope said Jan. 19.

“Share what you learn with the world, because the world needs you to be yourselves, who you really are, and not an imitation of someone else. We need you to be authentic, young men and women who are proud to belong to the Amazonian peoples and who can offer humanity an alternative for a true life.”

Francis spoke at the “Hogar Principito” (“Little Prince Home”) in Puerto Maldonado on the second day of his Jan. 18-21 visit to Peru. The children's home was founded in 1996 to help deal with with the high rate of neglect and child exploitation that occur in the city.

It currently houses around 40 children and adolescents, who have come from orphanages, at-risk families, or illegal mining camps. Some have been abandoned or been victims of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse.

Pope Francis met with the children and their caretakers on the basketball court of the home.

Before his speech he was greeted by the director of the home, Fr. Xavier Arbex, and listened to the testimony of Dirsey Irarica Piña, a woman who was raised in the home. He also watched performances by the children of songs and a choreographed dance.

Irarica described having been orphaned at the age of 11, and being welcomed into the Hogar Principito a couple of years later, saying the home “was ready immediately to give me the fullness of support and love … I thank my teachers and the 'little father' for filling this void in me. Thank you for this unconditional love which makes us feel at home.”

She now lives in Tacna, where she works and studies psychology.

In his address after listening to Irarica, the Pope referenced the recent celebration of Christmas, where our hearts were touched by the coming of the Child Jesus.

“He is our treasure. You children are his reflection, and you too are a treasure for all of us, the most precious treasure that we have, and one that we are called to guard,” Francis said.

He asked forgiveness for the times that adults have neglected to care for them and protect them as they deserve, saying how their lives demand a greater commitment and effort on the part of everyone – that we do not remain indifferent to children who suffer and are in need.

“Without a doubt, you are the greatest treasure that is ours to care for,” he underlined.

Speaking to Irarica, who gave a testimony before his speech, he said she was brave to share that sometimes she feels very hurt, and misses her father and mother.

“You told me; ‘I hope my message may be a light of hope,’” the Pope referenced. “But let me tell you something. Your life, your words, and the lives of all of you, are a light of hope.”

He said a wonderful witness “is offered by all of you young people who have travelled this road, who found love in this home and now are able to shape your own future! You demonstrate to all of us the enormous potential of each person. For these boys and girls, you are the best example to follow, a sign of hope that they will be able to do the same. We all need good role models: children need to look to the future and have positive role models.”

“Everything that you young people can do, like coming here to be with them, to play and spend time together, is important,” Pope Francis said. “Be for them, as the Little Prince says: the little stars that light up the night,” referring to the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry character for whom the children's home is named.

The Pope went on to note how the children who came from indigenous communities may have been witness to the destruction of their home, saying: “today those woodlands have been laid waste by the intoxication of a misguided notion of progress.”

“Young people, do not be resigned to what is happening! Do not renounce the legacy you have received from your elders, or your lives and dreams.”

He also encouraged them to study and to take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them.

“Listen to your elders; value their traditions; do not curb your curiosity. Get in touch with your roots, but at the same time open your eyes to new things; bring the old and the new together in your own way,” he encouraged.

Society often needs correction and you, young people, can help greatly with this “by teaching us a way of life based on protection and care, not on the destruction of everything that stands in the way of our greed,” he said.

Pope’s Address at Home for Young & Abandoned Children in Puerto Maldonado, Peru

Zenit News - English - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 1:09 PM

Below is the Vatican provided text of Pope Francis’ address during his meeting with those of Hogar El Principito (“the Home of the Little Prince”), a home for young and abandoned children. To welcome the Pope, there are a few hundred people, including children, young people and others of the association that manage the reception facility in Puerto Maldonado in Peru:


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Dear Children,

Thank you very much for this lovely reception and for your words of welcome. Seeing you dance makes me very happy.

I could not leave Puerto Maldonado before coming to visit you. You wanted to come from various homes to meet here in the Little Prince Home. Thank you for the efforts you made to be here today.

Not long ago, we celebrated Christmas. Our hearts were touched by the image of the Child Jesus. He is our treasure. You children are his reflection, and you too are a treasure for all of us, the most precious treasure that we have, and one that we are called to guard. Forgive us those times when we adults have not cared for you, and when we did not give you the importance you deserve. Your faces, your lives constantly demand a greater commitment and effort on our part, lest we become blind or indifferent to all those other children who suffer and are in need. Without a doubt, you are the greatest treasure that is ours to care for.

Dear children of the Little Prince Home and young people from the other homes, I know that sometimes, at night, some of you feel sad. I know that you miss your father and mother who are not here, and I know too that sometimes you feel very hurt. Dirsey, you were brave and you shared that with us. You told me; “I hope my message may be a light of hope”. But let me tell you something. Your life, your words, and the lives of all of you, are a light of hope. I want to thank you for your witness. Thank you for being a light of hope for all of us.

I am happy to see that you have a home where you are welcomed, and where, with affection and friendship, there are people who help you to see that God takes you by the hand and puts dreams in your heart.

What a wonderful witness, too, is offered by all of you young people who have travelled this road, who found love in this home and now are able to shape your own future! You demonstrate to all of us the enormous potential of each person. For these boys and girls, you are the best example to follow, a sign of hope that they will be able to do the same. We all need good role models: children need to look to the future and have positive role models. They need to think and say: “I want to be like him, like her”. Everything that you young people can do, like coming here to be with them, to play and spend time together, is important. Be for them, as the Little Prince says: the little stars that light up the night (cf. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, XXIV; XXVI).

Some of you young people here come from native communities. Sadly, you have seen the destruction of the woodlands. Your elders taught you to discover them; there they found their food and the medicine that brought them healing. Today those woodlands have been laid waste by the intoxication of a misguided notion of progress. The rivers that hosted your games and provided you with food are now muddied, contaminated, dead. Young people, do not be resigned to what is happening! Do not renounce the legacy you have received from your elders, or your lives and dreams.

I would like to encourage you to study. Get an education, take advantage of the opportunities you have for schooling. The world needs you, young men and women of the first peoples, and it needs you as you are. Do not be content to be the last car on the train of society, letting yourselves be pulled along and eventually disconnected. We need you to be the engine, always pressing forward. Listen to your elders; value their traditions; do not curb your curiosity. Get in touch with your roots, but at the same time open your eyes to new things; bring the old and the new together in your own way. Share what you learn with the world, because the world needs you to be yourselves, who you really are, and not an imitation of someone else. We need you to be authentic, young men and women who are proud to belong to the Amazonian peoples and who can offer humanity an alternative for a true life. My friends, society often needs to correct its course and you, the young of the first peoples, can help greatly – of this I am sure – to meet this challenge, above all by teaching us a way of life based on protection and care, not on the destruction of everything that stands in the way of our greed.

I want to thank Father Xavier, the religious brothers and sisters, the lay missionaries who are doing such wonderful work, and all the benefactors who are part of this family. I also thank the volunteers whose gift of time is like a balm soothing every wound. Likewise, I thank all those who confirm these young people in their Amazonian identity and help them to forge a better future for their communities and for our entire world.

Children, let us ask God to give us his blessing.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May he let his face shine upon you and show you his mercy. May he turn his countenance towards you and give you his peace. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen (cf. Num 6:24-26; Ps67; Blessing in Ordinary Time).

Let me ask you a favour. Please pray for me. And thank you for being the little stars that light up the night.

[Original text: Spanish] [Vatican-provided text] © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Holy Father: Mary an Example and a Mother

Zenit News - English - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 12:45 PM

Pope Francis on January 19, 2019, reminded the crowds in Peru that Mary is not only an example but a mother.  His comments came in an address during his meeting with the Population at Jorge-Basadre-Institute in Puerto Maldonado in Peru.

The Holy Father went on to explain that he had been told he was coming to a forgotten place, a “no man’s land.”  He disagreed.

“You are not a no man’s land,” Francis stressed. ” This land has names. It has faces. It has you.”

He noted that Mary also came from a “no man’s land.” And where there is a mother, you are cannot be forgotten nor alone.

The Pope pointed out that many people come to the area seeking a better life, sometimes “by the promising allure of gold mining,” But he warned that gold “can turn into a false god that demands human sacrifices.

“False gods, the idols of avarice, money, and power, corrupt everything,” he stressed. ” They corrupt people and institutions, and they ruin the forest.”

The Holy Father reminded the crowd that there “are demons that require much prayer to expel,” as Christ taught. And Francis encouraged the people to gather “as people of faith and vibrant ecclesial communities, around the person of Jesus.”

Pope Francis also raised the “painful subject” of human trafficking, which he said we should in reality call “slavery: slavery for work, sexual slavery, slavery for profit.” In particular, he lamented the denigration and devaluing of  “of so many women, especially young women”

In concluding, Francis recalled that salvation is neither generic nor abstract.  He said, “Our Father looks at real people, with real faces and histories.

“Every Christian community must be a reflection of this gaze, this presence that creates bonds and generates family and community. It is a way of making visible the kingdom of heaven, in communities where everyone feels a part of the whole, where they feel called by name and encouraged to be a builder of life for others.”

The Holy Father’s Remarks

Amazon not a 'no man's land', but a treasure, Pope Francis says

CNA General News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 12:34 PM

Puerto Maldonado, Peru, Jan 19, 2018 / 10:34 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis visited one of Peru's most biodiverse regions Friday, telling its inhabitants that while remote, their land is not forgotten and must be cared for.

He also stressed the importance of fighting such scourges as corruption and human trafficking.

“'We are not a no man’s land.' It is something that needs to be emphasized. You are not a no man’s land. This land has names. It has faces. It has you,” the Pope said Jan. 19 to the people of Puerto Maldonado, the capital of the Madre de Dios Region in the Amazon basin.

He was responding to comment made by a local couple, Margarita Martínez Núñez Valer and her husband Arturo, who while sharing their testimony said their land is one “that is mostly forgotten, wounded and marginalized...but we are not a no man’s land.”

Pope Francis noted that Mary also came from Nazareth, a remote and isolated village that many also considered “a no man’s land.”

Mary, he said, is not only an example but a mother, and when we have a mother, “we don’t have that terrible feeling of belonging to no one, that takes hold when our sense of belonging to a family, to a people, to a land, to our God, begins to fade.”

The Madre de Dios Region, then, “is not a land of orphans, but a land that has a Mother! And if it has a mother, it has sons and daughters, a family, a community.” While the problems might not disappear, when there is a mother, a family and a community “we certainly find the strength to confront them differently.”

He visited Puerto Maldonado on the first full day of his Jan. 18-21 visit to Peru, after spending three days in Chile. The Amazonian region is of special interest to the Pope, considering his 2015 encyclical on care for our common home, Laudato si', and his decision to hold a Pan-Amazonian synod in 2019 to discuss the challenges the area faces.

Before meeting with the inhabitants of Puerto Maldonado, he met with members of the Amazonian community, and distributed copies of Laudato si' which had been translated into the local languages.

Held in the city's Jorge Basadre Institute, the encounter with the people of Puerto Maldonado began with a greeting from Bishop David Martinez de Aguirre Guinea, Vicar Apostolic of Puerto Maldonado, and the testimony of a catechist.

Francis said it is painful for him to see how some people seek to exploit the territory and therefore make Madre de Dios “a nameless land, without children, a barren land.”

Referring to what he has often dubbed the “throwaway culture,” he said this is a mentality which isn't satisfied with simple exclusion, but continues to advance “by silencing, ignoring and throwing out everything that does not serve its interests; as if the alienating consumerism of some is completely unaware of the desperate suffering of others.”

“It is an anonymous culture, without bonds, without faces,” and which only wants to consume, he said, adding that both land and people are treated according to the same logic: “forests, rivers and streams are exploited mercilessly, then left barren and unusable,” while people are “used until someone gets tired of them, then abandoned.”

He then spoke out against the temptation of corruption and the practice of human trafficking, saying forcefully that the term slavery should be used instead: “We have become accustomed to using the term 'human trafficking', but in truth we should speak of slavery: slavery for work, sexual slavery, slavery for profit.”

“It is painful to see how in this land … so many women are devalued, denigrated and exposed to endless violence. Violence against women cannot be treated as 'normal', maintaining a culture of machismo blind to the leading role that women play in our communities. It is not right for us to look the other way and let the dignity of so many women, especially young women, be trampled upon.”

He noted that many people, desperate to escape poverty, come to the area to work in the gold mines, but he cautioned that gold can quickly turn into “a false god that demands human sacrifices.”

“False gods, the idols of avarice, money and power, corrupt everything. They corrupt people and institutions, and they ruin the forest,” he said, adding that Christ called these “demons that require much prayer to expel.”

The Pope then urged the community to continue forming movements and organizations aimed at overcoming the plagues of corruption and trafficking. “I likewise encourage you to gather, as people of faith and vibrant ecclesial communities, around the person of Jesus,” he said.

“Through heartfelt prayer and hope-filled encounter with Christ, we will be able to attain the conversion that leads us to true life. Jesus promised us true life, authentic life, eternal life. Not a make-believe life, like the one offered by all those dazzling false promises; they promise life but lead us to death.”

Salvation, he said, “is not something generic or abstract. Our Father looks at real people, with real faces and histories. Every Christian community must be a reflection of this gaze, this presence that creates bonds and generates family and community. It is a way of making visible the kingdom of heaven, in communities where everyone feels a part of the whole, where they feel called by name and encouraged to be a builder of life for others.”

Pope Francis closes his speech telling the people they live in one of “the most exuberant explosions of life on our planet,” and urged them love the land and to “realize that it belongs to you. Breathe it in, listen to it, marvel at it.”

“Fall in love with this land called 'Madre de Dios,' commit yourself to it and care for it,” he said, and “do not use this land as a mere disposable object, but as a genuine treasure to be enjoyed, cultivated and entrusted to your children.”

Pope says accusations against Chilean bishop are 'calumny'

CNA General News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 11:58 AM

Santiago, Chile, Jan 19, 2018 / 09:58 am (CNA/EWTN News).- At the end of his three-day visit to Chile, Pope Francis came to the defense of a controversial bishop, saying accusations that he helped cover up abuse are unproven and amount to “calumny.”

Responding to a Chilean journalist who asked about the issue, Pope Francis said “the day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I’ll speak. There is not one shred of proof against him. It’s all calumny. Is that clear?”

The 2015 appointment of Bishop Juan Barros Madrid to lead the Diocese Osorno, continues to draw harsh criticism from activists and abuse victims who accuse the bishop of covering up the crimes of his longtime friend, Father Fernando Karadima.

Karadima, who once led a lay movement from his parish in El Bosque, was convicted of sexually abusing minors in a 2011 Vatican trial, and at the age of 84, he was sentenced to a life of prayer and solitude.

Barros has repeatedly insisted that he knew nothing of the abuse, at one point telling the Associated Press that “I never knew anything about, nor ever imagined the serious abuses which that priest committed against the victims.”

“I have never approved of nor participated in such serious dishonest acts and I have never been convicted by any tribunal of such things.”
In January 2015 Francis named Barros to head the Diocese of Osorno in southern Chile, setting off a wave of objections and calls for his resignation from several priests. Dozens of protesters, including non-Catholics, attempted to disrupt his March 21, 2015 installation Mass at the Osorno cathedral.

Days later, Archbishop Fernando Chomali Garib of Concepcion said that Pope Francis had told him that there was “no objective reason at all” that the bishop should not be installed. The pontiff had been kept up-to-date on the situation.

On March 31, 2015, the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops also released a statement, saying that the office had “carefully examined the prelate’s candidature and did not find objective reasons to preclude the appointment.”
The then-apostolic nuncio to Chile, Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, said that all information about Barros was passed on to Pope Francis. Most of the people in the church, he said, were not protesters, but “people who love their bishop.”

On May 6, 2015, five months after Barros was appointed to lead the Diocese of Osorno, Deacon Jaime Coiro, general secretary of the Chilean episcopal conference, told Pope Francis that the Church in Osorno “is praying and suffering for you.”

“Osorno suffers, yes,” Pope Francis said, “for silliness.” According to a video of the conversation released by Chile’s Ahora Noticias, the Pope had told Coiro that “the only accusation against that bishop was discredited by the judicial court.”

“Think with your head, and do not be carried away by the noses of the leftists, who are the ones who put this thing together,” the Pope added.

In his first speech after landing in Chile Jan. 15 Pope Francis acknowledged the pain and distress the scandal has caused to the local Church and to the wider Chilean society, telling the country's civil authorities he feels “pain and shame at the irreparable damage caused to children by some ministers of the Church.”

Asking for pardon, he said “I am one with my brother bishops, for it is right to ask for forgiveness and make every effort to support the victims, even as we commit ourselves to ensuring that such things do not happen again.”

However, in response to the Pope's comment Jan. 18, Juan Carlos Cruz – one of Barros' most outspoken accusers and one of Karadima's victims – tweeted: “As if I could have taken a selfie or a photo while Karadima abused me and others and Juan Barros stood by watching it all...These people are truly crazy, and the pontiff talks about atonement to the victims. Nothing has changed, and his plea for forgiveness is empty.”


Catholic League - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 11:55 AM
Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the March for Life and the social justice agenda: There is no annual demonstration that draws more Catholics than the March for Life. The turnout is so impressive—the media typically underplay its success—that it has become the envy of social justice Catholics, those whose primary commitment is to [...]

From the Amazon, Francis decries policies that 'strangle' indigenous

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 11:48 AM
Puerto Maldonado, Peru -- "We have to break with the historical paradigm that views Amazonia as an inexhaustible source of supplies for other countries without concern for its inhabitants," Francis said.

Cardinal invokes Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in march vigil homily

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 11:40 AM
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York invoked the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during a homily at the Jan. 18 Mass that opened the National Prayer Vigil for Life.

Pope in Peru: Don’t just protect the Amazon, protect its people

CNA General News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 11:16 AM

Puerto Maldonado, Peru, Jan 19, 2018 / 09:16 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Speaking to members of Peru's indigenous Amazonian communities Friday, Pope Francis said that contrary to the consumerist mentality that places material objects above the good of the people, protecting the Amazon also means taking into account the best interests of those who live there.

“Allow me to state that if, for some, you are viewed as an obstacle or a hindrance, the fact is your lives cry out against a style of life that is oblivious to its own real cost,” the Pope told indigenous Peruvians Jan. 19.

“We have to break with the historical paradigm that views Amazonia as an inexhaustible source of supplies for other countries without concern for its inhabitants,” he continued, emphasizing that Amazonians are “a living memory of the mission that God has entrusted to us all: the protection of our common home.”

Pope Francis is visiting Peru from Jan. 18-21. During his first full day in the country, he met with indigenous people of the Amazon region in the city of Puerto Maldonado. The city lies in the Madre de Dios region in southeast Peru, and is considered the gateway to the southern Amazon jungle.

There are about 332,000 indigenous Peruvians living in the country’s Amazon region, of which 29,000 are within the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Maldonado.

The encounter included a performance of songs and dances by the ancient Arambut and an address by the Apostolic Vicar of Puerto Maldonado, Bishop David Martinez de Aguirre Guinea, O.P.

Before speaking, Francis also heard the testimonies of three Amazonian people. Copies of his 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si, translated into the local languages, were also distributed. Later in the day, he will have lunch with representatives of the Amazon.

In his speech, the Pope listed the different native groups which live in the Peruvian Amazon, thanking them for their attendance, and for giving him the opportunity to see, “closer up, in your faces, the reflection of this land.”

“It is a diverse face, one of infinite variety and enormous biological, cultural and spiritual richness,” he said.

The Pope also drew attention to the threats native Amazonians face on their own land, stating that at present they are probably some of the worst they’ve experienced.

He listed the different challenges they currently face, including “neo-extractivism,” which is when large businesses try to take possession of the petroleum, gas, lumber, and gold in the region.

There are also other movements that, “under the guise of preserving the forest, hoard great expanses of woodland and negotiate with them,” leading to situations of oppression for native people, who lose access to the land and its resources, he said.

Pointing to human trafficking, which he called a “devastating assault on life,” Francis strongly condemned, in particular, slave labor and sexual abuse, which are often linked with illegal mining, saying “the defense of the earth has no other purpose than the defense of life.”

He said that we cannot forget the words of St. Turibius, who at the Third Council of Lima in the 1500s said, “that not only in times past were great wrongs and acts of coercion done to these poor people, but in our own time many seek to do the same.”

“Sadly, five centuries later, these words remain timely,” he noted. “That prophecy must remain alive in our Church, which will never stop pleading for the outcast and those who suffer.”

Francis also focused on the good work of the Church in the Amazon, and the many missionaries throughout history who have devoted themselves to the region, defending its people and their cultures.

“Each culture and each worldview that receives the Gospel enriches the Church by showing a new aspect of Christ’s face,” he said. “Do not yield to those attempts to uproot the Catholic faith from your peoples.”

“The Church is not alien to your problems and your lives, she does not want to be aloof from your way of life and organization. We need the native peoples to shape the culture of the local churches in Amazonia,” he said.

He encouraged people to help their bishops and missionaries to be one with them, so that through inclusive dialogue they can help to shape the face of the Church.

It was in this spirit, Francis explained, that he decided to convoke an upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Amazon, which will take place in 2019.

The Pope also voiced his encouragement for those who use art, literature, craftsmanship and music to share their worldview and cultural richness with the world.

Much has been written and said about you by others, he said, but “it is good that you are now the ones to define yourselves and show us your identity. We need to listen to you.”

This is the reason I wanted to visit you and listen to you, he explained. “So that we can stand together, in the heart of the Church, and share your challenges and reaffirm with you a whole-hearted option for the defense of life, the defense of the earth and the defense of cultures.”

Campus Notebook: Fordham taken to court over club; Newman cancels LGBT exhibit

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 10:59 AM
College roundup: Students sue Fordham for its refusal to recognize Students for Justice in Palestine; Georgetown OKs LGBT residential community; new buildings for Brescia and Donnelly.

Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman Praises House for Passing Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

USCCB News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 10:58 AM

WASHINGTON–Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, thanked and praised the House of Representatives for passing the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act today with a bi-partisan vote of 241-183.

"As Chairman of the United States Bishops' Committee, I offer gratitude and praise to the House of Representatives for passing the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 4712). This common-sense legislation offers a simple and widely supported proposition: a child born alive following an abortion should receive the same degree of care to preserve her life and health as would be given to any other child born alive at the same gestational age. I call on the Senate to pass this bill as well and ensure that the lethal mentality of Roe does not claim new victims – vulnerable human beings struggling for their lives outside the womb."

Nearly sixteen years ago, Congress passed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act with nearly unanimous support. The Act provides – for the purpose of federal law – that the words "person," "human being," "child," and "individual" shall include "every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development." The measure also codifies the definition of "born alive" found in the laws of most states – evidence of heartbeat, respiration, and/or voluntary movements after the infant's complete expulsion from the mother.

However, this law provides no specified mechanism for holding an abortionist accountable for denying care to babies who survive abortions. And there is sufficient evidence that abortionists do not always provide care to babies who survive an abortion and are born alive.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would remedy this problem by requiring any health care practitioner present when a child is born alive following an abortion to exercise the same degree of care to preserve the life and health of the child as would be given to any other child born alive at the same gestational age. And following exercise of such care, it requires the practitioner to ensure that the child is immediately transported and admitted to a hospital.

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protections Act, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, abortion, born alive, infants, human being, child, individual, person, abortionists, accountable, preservation of life and health.


Media Contact:
Judy Keane

NCR Podcast: Lincoln bishop offers to lift excommunication for local Call to Action members

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 10:55 AM
In Conversation: NCR staff writer Brian Roewe explains the background of this excommunication case and the dialogue sessions that have led to a new offer.

Bishops’ Conferences Look to Youth to Bring Hope for a Better Future in the Holy Land

USCCB News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 10:50 AM

WASHINGTON—Noting the deteriorating prospects for peace in the Holy Land, representatives of bishops' conferences from several countries, including the United States, acknowledged the struggle of the young people they met but called them the "hope for a better future."

The bishops made their annual solidarity visit to the Holy Land January 13 – 18, 2018. They visited Gaza, met with school children there and in the West Bank and in Israel as well as with students at Hebrew University and Bethlehem University. They also visited l'Arche in Bethlehem and a home of the elderly in Beit Emmaus.

In a communique issued at the end of their visit, the bishops cited the many challenges (unemployment, discrimination, and lack of opportunity) faced by youth, particularly those living in the West Bank and Gaza. But in their discussions with Israeli youth, the bishops found that many shared with their Palestinian counterparts the "same aspirations for peaceful coexistence."  

For the bishops, it was clear that it is the youth from West Bank, Gaza and Israel who are resilient and courageous in keeping alive the hope for a peaceful resolution to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops along with bishops from other nations on this solidarity visit have long decried violence as a way to resolve conflict but instead strongly supported a two-state solution in which a secure Israel coexists with a viable and independent Palestinian state.

The bishops called on communities in their respective countries to act in solidarity with youth who have an essential role in promoting peace through actions such as prayer, and supporting programs that create jobs, provide housing and foster dialogue.

The Coordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church of the Holy Land has met every January since 1998 to pray and act in solidarity with the Christian community in the Holy Land. Bishops representing Europe, North America, and South Africa participated in this visit.

The bishops' statement is available at

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Holy Land, Gaza, West Bank, Israel, Bethlehem, L'Arche, Beit Emmaus, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, youth, violence, independent Palestinian state, dialogue


Media Contact:
Judy Keane 

A Nation Under Trump: An NCR retrospective

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 10:29 AM
NCR Looks Back: NCR reporters interviewed key players about what has transpired over the first year of the Trump administration. We collected these stories into a series we call: A Nation Under Trump.
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