Various Catholic News

Republicans introduce bill to protect LGBTQ rights and religious freedom

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 9:14 PM
With the backing of a consortium of Christian colleges and universities, a Utah congressman introduced a bill Dec. 6 that would ban discrimination against LGBTQ people while also protecting religious institutions that uphold traditional beliefs about marriage and sexuality.

Cleveland priest charged with possessing child pornography

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 8:29 PM
A Catholic priest is facing charges of possessing child pornography following his arrest at a suburban Cleveland parish.

Kenney revives Alberta prayer breakfast

Catholic Register Canada - News - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 6:00 PM

EDMONTON -- Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is reviving the tradition of a provincial Christian prayer breakfast, calling it one sign of respect for religious freedom in a diverse society.

“This prayer gathering today is not a threat to pluralism. It is pluralism in action,” Kenney told the nearly 700 legislature members, pastors and other guests on Nov. 25 at the Edmonton Expo Centre.

“An authentic pluralism is one that truly respects the beliefs of our fellow citizens and recognizes that for millions of Albertans their beliefs are informed and rooted in religious traditions,” he said.

The event was the first of its kind in five years. Reaction exploded on social media, with many criticizing it as an attack on separation of church and state and an example of religion interfering with political affairs.

“Much of that criticism seems to focus on this being a Christian event in particular,” said the United Conservative Party premier, himself a Catholic. “It is peculiar that those criticizing my participation in a Christian gathering are very silent when I’ve participated in dozens of events organized by other faith communities, including those of Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Baha’i and other faiths.”

A prayer breakfast with the premier was an annual tradition that ended under Alberta’s previous NDP government. The event was initiated by UCP MLAs Dan Williams and Michaela Glasgo and organized by Pam Davidson, a former chair of the UCP Innisfail-Sylvan Lake nomination committee. They hope the breakfast continues as a way to honour both people of faith and to pray for the province’s political representatives.

Political attendance was dominated by members of the UCP, but the Alberta government did not sponsor or pay for the event. According to an email from the office of Williams, all ministers and MLAs were required to purchase their own tickets.

“Just that this event happened says a lot,” said Ryan Beaupré, a University of Alberta student who attended the breakfast. “It’s important to unite Christians in this ecumenical way just to say that faith is important in our public life.”

For Beaupré, gatherings of this kind are critical to a genuinely diverse and pluralistic society.

“I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how faith and public life are supposed to work together. It’s not immediately clear since we live in a liberal democracy,” he said. “But we don’t want our faith to just leave the public sphere, that’s not pluralism. That’s secularism.”

Religious freedom has recently been challenged across the country. An Ontario Court of Appeal decision has forced physicians who disagree with euthanasia and abortion to make direct referrals for these procedures. As well, the Quebec government’s Bill 21 now forbids religious wear for most people employed in the public sector.

Only days before the breakfast, the Alberta legislature’s standing committee for private member’s bills voted down a controversial bill aimed at protecting religious freedom and conscience rights. Bill 207, drafted by Williams, aimed to reaffirm the rights of health care practitioners to refuse to provide services that conflict with their moral or religious convictions. Many criticized the bill as a way to suppress access to medical services in the name of religious liberty.

During the breakfast Kenney did not acknowledge Bill 207 or the controversy it stirred. However, despite the backlash he received for speaking at the Christian event, the premier says his Catholic faith has not been a hindrance to his career, but an asset.

“Personally, it’s essential to my vocation to be grounded in my faith,” said Kenney. “As we see with Bill 21 in Quebec, there’s an increasingly hostile environment for people of faith in public life. That’s unfortunate, but I think it’s coming from a small minority of people. I think the vast majority of Canadians understand the open and natural approach to pluralism.”

(Grandin Media)

German Catholics praise Fr. Johann Metz, theologian, dead at 91

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 5:19 PM
German-speaking Catholics paid tribute to Fr. Johann Baptist Metz, the veteran theologian who died Dec. 2 in Munster, Germany, at age 91.

Rise in populism due to lack of listening, dialogue, pope says

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 4:48 PM
Ignoring the reality lived by men and women today has caused a resurgence of old ideologies, such as populism, that inevitably do more harm than good, Pope Francis said.

Germany's merkel visits Auschwitz amid rising anti-semitism

Vatican News - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 4:12 PM
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has visited the former German Nazi death camp Auschwitz amid concerns about rising anti-semitism in Germany and Europe and brought with here a massive. She carefully walked through the gates of the former German Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau with the notorious words "Arbeit Macht Frei."

Mexican diocese suspends evening Masses due to insecurity

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 3:42 PM
The Diocese of Cuernavaca has suspended evening Masses due to insecurity in the city and surrounding state of Morelos, a reflection of the violence raging in parts of Mexico and its impact on the Catholic Church.

Peace agreement and Pope Francis’ visit giving hope to the people of South Sudan

Vatican News - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 3:28 PM
“We are a family of God’s people, in participatory service to the Church.” This is the theme of the first Diocesan Synod organised by the Diocese of Tombura-Yambio in South Sudan.

RELIGION HATERS CASH IN ON CHRISTMAS

Catholic League - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 3:00 PM
Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on how religion haters are celebrating Christmas: Americans United for Separation of Church and State (Americans United) was founded as an expressly anti-Catholic organization after World War II. Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is an atheist religion-hating organization that considers abortion to be a "blessing." Both are seeking to [...]

House Speaker Pelosi rebukes reporter: 'Don't mess with me'

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 2:34 PM
Finger pointing and voice hoarse, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday delivered a broadside to a reporter that might well apply to all of impeachment-era Washington: “Don't mess with me."

Pope urges researchers on social issues to smell like sheep

Vatican News - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 2:27 PM
Pope Francis on Friday received in audience the officials and staff of the Italian weekly magazine, “Aggiornamenti Sociali”. In a prepared text he handed them, he encouraged a preferential love for the poor and building of bridges among people through listening, dialogue and walking together.

Survivors group releases list of 'credibly accused' priests in Diocese of London

Catholic Register Canada - News - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 2:10 PM

The Diocese of London has confirmed that a list of priests credibly accused of abusing minors, released by a network of abuse victims, is “substantially correct.”

In a statement released Dec. 5, the southwestern Ontario diocese said that it can’t confirm in its entirety the 36 names released by SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) SW Ontario, though “we can confirm that it appears to be substantially correct.” It did say that some of the priests involved and their cases were resolved by the priest’s religious order, and added “there are four other priests against whom allegations involving minors have been made. None of the priests continues to work within the diocese or elsewhere in the Church.”

SNAP released the names of 36 individuals who were criminally convicted and/or charged by more than one complainant and/or sued with a resolution for more than $50,000. These offences took place between 1952 and 2005 in various communities in the London diocese, said the report posted Dec. 4 on the SNAP Network website. Twenty-seven of the 36 men named are deceased.

In its statement, the diocese expressed “our utmost regret” for those who suffered at the hands of clergy.

“We are sorry for the pain that clergy sexual abuse has caused and we are committed to vigilantly protecting those who are vulnerable, to supporting survivors and to swiftly addressing allegations,” the statement said.

Bishop Ronald Fabbro has met with many of the survivors and their families and has committed to supporting them in their journey. He has waived confidentiality requirements from all the settlements so that survivors who wish to share their story are able to.

“While these are incredibly difficult conversations, it is important that we continually look inward to keep our diocese a safe place for all members of our community,” the diocese said in its statement. “We will readily cooperate with police and judicial authorities whenever an investigation is required. We are committed to reviewing, updating and promoting the diocese’s ‘Safe Environment Policy,’ with prevention and healing as our guiding principles.”

Friday of the First Week of Advent: Allowing God’s Truth

Franciscan Media American Catholic Blog - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 12:30 PM

And those who err in spirit will come to understanding, and those who grumble will accept instruction.
—Isaiah 29:24

Fr Cantalamessa gives first Advent reflection to Pope and Roman Curia

Vatican News - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 12:07 PM
The Preacher of the Papal Household, Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, gives his first Advent reflection at the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Apostolic Palace. Below is the full text of his sermon.

D&P partner angry over bishops’ questions

Catholic Register Canada - News - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 12:00 PM

For the second time in five months the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is being criticized by a Development and Peace partner caught up in an ongoing inquiry.

The co-ordinator of the Haitian organization Fanm Deside (Haitian Creole for “Women Decide”) is upset by a request for further clarification after she had previously responded that “Fanm Deside has never supported nor encouraged any practice of abortion.”

“We do not understand why such a clear and precise response continues to raise ‘concerns,’ ” wrote Marie Ange Noel to the bishops and Development and Peace executive director Serge Langlois.

Fanm Deside is among 52 Development and Peace partners involved in a CCCB inquiry to determine if they are compliant with Catholic social teaching.

A similar sharp and public response to CCCB questions was released by Honduran Jesuit Fr. Ismael Moreno in July. Moreno was upset by questioning over whether two Jesuit projects fully supported Catholic teaching on gay marriage and abortion.

While the CCCB continues its two-year inquiry, Fanm Deside has been cut out of Development and Peace funding, as have other organizations named in the inquiry.

CCCB officials and the national council of Development and Peace met in Montreal Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 to consider 14 recommendations of a Deloitte Consulting report on restructuring the Catholic lay movement that was created by Canada’s bishops in 1967. Neither Development and Peace nor the bishops’ conference would comment on the meeting or the letter from Fanm Deside.

“Information concerning the outcome of the partner review will be communicated once discussions between the two organizations are concluded,” said CCCB communications co-ordinator Lisa Gall.

In Noel’s letter to the bishops, she noted that, having previously answered the question on her organization’s position on abortion, the CCCB had sought clarification by further asking, “Does this mean that you do not support the legalization of abortion in Haiti?” 

Noel responded that there was nothing to support or condemn in that decriminalizing abortion is not on the agenda of either Haiti’s parliament or its president.

She also queried the bishops as to why the endorsement of Fanm Deside by two Haitian bishops seemed insufficient for  the CCCB.

“We would have thought that the statements from these bishops would have been sufficient to dispel the doubts of the CCCB,” Noel wrote Nov. 27. “It is troubling that in the view of the CCCB and Development and Peace, who had both received these statements, the word of two Haitian bishops has no more value than our own.

“This pledge that Fanm Deside has made to protect life has its roots in our Christian faith,” Noel said. “We have been summonsed to offer explanations several times, always in vain. The fears of the CCCB remain unmovable. They seem to be more enduring than the firmness of the facts.”

The Quebec order of sisters who helped found Fanm Deside in 1989 came to Noel’s defence.

“We cannot accept that the organization that created the Magalie Centre for Life, a shelter that welcomes women and girls who have no other recourse, is suspected of being pro-abortion,” said a statement on the L’Institut Notre-Dame du Bon-Conseil website.

The Canadian province of the Jesuits, which includes Haiti, also supported Fanm Deside.

“We very much hope that this investigation of Development and Peace’s partners will be completed, as it undermines their work,” wrote Jesuit provincial superior Fr. Eric Oland.

(With files from Presence-Info in Quebec.)

Pope to Italian notaries: Uphold the law in justice and charity

Vatican News - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 11:59 AM
Pope Francis meets with representatives of Italy’s National Notary Fund, and urges notaries public to mediate the law in respect for the dignity and rights of their clients.

Your thoughts on welcoming LGBT Catholics, holy anger, St. Newman and more

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 9:00 AM
Your thoughts: NCR readers are welcome to join the conversation and send us a letter to the editor. Below is a sampling of letters received in the month of October 2019.

Copy Desk Daily, Dec. 6, 2019

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 9:00 AM
NCR Today: The Copy Desk Daily highlights the latest news and opinion that have crossed copy editors' desks, on the way to readers.

It's too soon to beatify Archbishop Sheen anyway

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 9:00 AM
Distinctly Catholic: The postponement of Archbishop Fulton Sheen's beatification raises deeper issues about whom and how we as a church canonize. It's time to look at the criteria for sainthood.
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