Various Catholic News

Riots, Technocrats, and Normality

Catholic World Report - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 10:33 PM
What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, [...]

Gathered together in prayer with Mary the Mother of Jesus

Vatican News - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 4:56 PM
Thousands of people joined the approximately 130 persons gathered in the Lourdes Grotto in the Vatican Gardens to recite the Rosary with Pope Francis on the last Saturday of the month of May.

WHO warns against tobacco industry targeting teenagers

Vatican News - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 3:58 PM
31 May marks World No Tobacco Day. The focus in 2020 is on teenagers who are being increasingly targeted by the tobacco industry with nine out of 10 smokers starting before they are 18 years old.

Pope to priests of Rome: Promote new life Jesus wants to give us

Vatican News - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 2:32 PM
In a letter addressed to the priests of the Diocese of Rome, Pope Francis looks forward to the next phase of efforts to respond to the new situation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Summer camps another COVID casualty

Catholic Register Canada - News - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 1:35 PM

Discussions on how Camp Vincent would operate as this year of pandemic turned into summer became a moot point once the province of Ontario took the decision out of operators’ hands.

Premier Doug Ford announced May 19 that overnight summer camps would be cancelled due to the risks associated with COVID-19, ending all discussion by camp operators on how they would proceed with this season.

“We had been toying with the idea prior to the government’s announcement as well, so I guess we weren’t really surprised when they confirmed this is the way it was going to go,” said Collin Girard, chair of the board of directors at Camp Vincent, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul-run camp located in Bothwell in southwestern Ontario.

The topic was front of mind for camp operators since mid-March when much of the nation went into lockdown to keep the coronavirus in check. It was always on the table, but when it was announced by Ford, it didn’t make things any easier.

“Recognizing that this isn’t going to be a possibility this summer was a bit depressing. It wasn’t a decision we wanted to be making, but we recognize there’s a need for safety,” said Girard, who has been with the camp since 2005.

Still, it’s not an unexpected move. The Ontario Camps Association, the umbrella organization that oversees more than 450 day and overnight camps in Ontario, said it understands why the decision was made.

“The Government of Ontario made this decision in the best interests of Ontario’s children and their families,” the association said in a statement posted to its website.

More than 400,000 children take part in summer camps, day and overnight, which employ 35,000 people.

The association has worked closely with the province to share concerns and offer its support. It will continue to do so for the day camps, which remain in limbo as no announcement has been made as to whether they will operate this summer.

“Hosting a physical summer day camp is definitely a moving target,” said Kelly MacKenzie, executive director of Silent Voice which operates camps for hearing-impaired children, in an email to The Catholic Register. “We are planning for a digital engagement of campers with deaf counsellors and mentors. What our camp will look like … is undecided.”

The Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) in Hamilton, Ont., operates two separate camps, Camp Marydale and Camp Brebeuf. Upon hearing the news these camps won’t be able to operate, administrators asked that parents “remain patient with us as we work through the cancellation process.” The CYO will also need time to review how government restrictions will affect day camps and “how we can put them into place to operate our programs safely,” said a statement on the CYO’s website.

While Girard can’t argue with the overnight camp closures, he can’t help but feel for the kids who won’t have a chance — perhaps their only chance — at this kind of experience.

“It’s probably the right choice but it’s just unfortunate that the population we serve is not going to have access to that programming,” he said.

Many of its campers, as well as the society’s Camp Marygrove and Camp Ozanam, are from underprivileged families that can’t readily access camping.

Trying to go online, like churches have done in live-streaming Masses, is not an option. There’s just no way to recreate the camp experience online, he said. The social aspect is the camp’s greatest calling card.

“I don’t think you could do anything that would come close to mimicking that experience. The kids interacting with each other, with the staff, with nature, that’s really what drives the program home,” said Girard.

For those that may be too old to attend next year, it’s been suggested by some parents that the program be expanded on a one-time-only basis in 2021 for them, and it’s definitely a possibility, he said.

“Those sort of things are not out of the question, those are conversations we’re having,” said Girard.

ACN reaches out to Pakistan’s Christians hit by Covid-19 crisis

Vatican News - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 12:43 PM
In Pakistan, many poor Christians and members of religious minorities continue to be denied food aid and basic necessities during the Covid- 19 emergency.

The new seminary this Fall

Catholic Register Canada - News - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 11:00 AM

Canada’s seminaries have survived the spring onslaught of COVID-19, but they’re looking across the wide expanse of summer holidays and wondering what the future holds.

In terms of academics, the professors of Scripture, patristics and pastoral theology have all learned to Zoom and Skype and Google their way into their students’ kitchens and dining rooms. Delivering lectures, answering questions, leading discussions online has become part of the job.

“Courses quickly moved to an online format and, as airports were closing down, the seminarians were eventually directed to return home, self-isolate where it was deemed necessary and complete the final few weeks of the academic year online,” St. Peter’s Seminary director of lay and pastoral formation Bernardine Ketelaars told The Catholic Register by e-mail.

For the seminary in London, Ont., the faculty’s “number one concern will be the health and well-being of all who reside, visit, work and study at St. Peter’s Seminary,” Ketelaars said.

But seminaries and faculties of theology aren’t just in the business of cramming knowledge into pliable young minds. Seminaries are supposed to form future priests, religious sisters and brothers. By means of shared life experiences, they equip them for ministry.

“The documents of the Church say that a formative community is essential. We’re talking about an incarnational theology,” said Christ the King Seminary rector Fr. Matthew Gerlich of the Benedictine monastery at Westminster Abbey in Mission, B.C. “To do stuff online, it’s just not the same as being there in person. Much of formation — as Pope Francis and the documents rightly insist — it’s accompaniment.”

Sr. Sarah Rudolph is halfway through the five- to seven-year process of formation in the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, better known as the Loretto Sisters. She’s got a year left in a Master of Divinity program at Toronto’s Regis College, where she studies alongside Jesuits, lay people and other vowed religious.

“I actually found that the transition to online (classes) was quite smooth,” Rudolph said. “It was easy to recreate, I think, the classroom experience.”

Rudolph appreciates the sweat and stress professors and students have expended to learn new technologies and new ways of doing things. But academic discussion isn’t quite the same as the experience of community in a live classroom. It’s one thing to query the variant translations of a line of Scripture during a Zoom meeting. It’s another to open up about faith and doubt, hope and discouragement, loneliness and prayers that seem forever bottled in one’s throat.

“I live in a religious community. I have people around me that I can talk to, that I interact with every day,” said Rudolph. “But my classmates, some of them are on their own in apartments.”

Rudolph and a Jesuit classmate have been running an Ignatian discussion group for about 20 Regis students since early this year. Based in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, members of the group follow a structured plan of spiritual reading, prayer and contemplation, then get together once a week to share what they have experienced in prayer.

“What you need for the sharing is a sense of trust, that this is a sacred space, that there’s confidentiality here,” she said. “Building that online will be interesting.”

The spring term Ignatian discussion group went online for its last month. But that group carried with it an established comfort level from months of in-person meetings before venturing into digital faith sharing. The summer group will include new people who don’t necessarily know each other from in-person interactions.

“This will be the first time for me to be co-facilitating a group that will be brand new,” Rudolph said. She hopes the new group will experience the same level of trust as the first.

“Whatever challenges we’ve experienced, whatever graces or joys we’ve experienced — it gives us a chance to share with each other,” she said.

Rudolph counts herself lucky that she completed the field placement portion of her Master of Divinity before the novel coronavirus hit the headlines and hospitals. For the incoming class of divinity students, how, when and where they will gain practical experience in ministry is an open question.

“We will find a way. That’s not going to be an obstacle,” said Regis College academic dean Sr. Susan Wood of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.

"[The pandemic] has given us a chance to look at pedagogy and think, ‘OK, when we go back to normal — whatever and whenever that’s going to look like — how do we do things differently?’"

Field placements are an essential part of studies for a Master of Divinity. Unlike purely academic studies in Scripture, Church history, ancient languages, philosophy and theology, an M.Div. is the basic degree intended to prepare students for a life of practical ministry. All the book learning is to prepare students to minister in a parish, prison or pastoral placement.

“Field placements, those will probably be on hold,” Wood said. “We’re not going to put students in danger of any kind.”

But Wood is certain those ministry opportunities will open up and no one will fail to graduate because they couldn’t find a field placement. 

At Regis and throughout the Toronto School of Theology, which includes the theology faculty at St. Michael’s College and St. Augustine’s Seminary, professors are planning on offering all classes online in the fall. There’s plenty of talk about offering mixed live and remote classes, but the technical challenges are enormous — and expensive. This fall Wood expects to see students rarely and professors expect to spend long days in front of screens.

The dangers of live classroom settings aren’t just in the classroom, Wood points out.

“Many of them (students) have long commutes on public transportation. They may be hunkering down in other parts of the country or in other countries,” Wood said. “So it seems to us right now, that because you have to plan in advance — it’s very hard to do things at the last minute — to plan on opening remotely (in the fall).”

The administration at Regis is still assigning classrooms for this fall’s seminars and lectures, but they don’t really expect they will be used. Discussions about daily Mass in the Regis College chapel and the larger 1 p.m. Wednesday student community Mass are ongoing, Wood said.

In British Columbia, Gerlich has more questions than answers about how his monastery-run seminary will operate in the fall.

“We have some outside teachers who commute daily, or two or three times a week, to the seminary to teach. What do we do about them?” he asks. “We’ve got the Redemptoris Mater guys (missionary seminarians of the Neocatechumanate movement) and there will be some more of them coming. They’re going to Vancouver and then they’re coming here. So what do we do? I have no idea.”

Gerlich has similar doubts about assigning pastoral ministry to students in the fall. 

There were 19 seminarians at Christ the King for the academic year that ended April 30. The monks also run a minor seminary (high school) on their property. This summer is going to be spent thinking through some of the basics of the education offered, Gerlich said.

“It has given us a chance to look at pedagogy and think, ‘OK, when we go back to normal — whatever and whenever that’s going to look like — how do we do things differently?’ ”

At Regis, the accredited pontifical faculty is coming to grips with all the advantages and disadvantages of remote teaching.

“We have to just say it’s different, and in being different there are advantages, disadvantages, losses and gains,” Wood said.

Pope Francis donates Ventilators to Zambia

Vatican News - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 10:27 AM
Pope Francis has donated 3 ventilators and other medical supplies to Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) in support to the fight against Covid-19.

US Bishops: Racism not a thing of the past

Vatican News - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 9:22 AM
Saying they are “broken-hearted, sickened, and outraged to watch another video of an African American man being killed before our very eyes”, leaders of the USCCB call for the “real and present danger” of racism to be met head on.

Ignatian Legacy Fellows explore retirement as 'vocational moment'

Natl Catholic Reporter - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 8:00 AM
The new program hosted by four Jesuit universities invites older adults to learn about the global Jesuit network as they enter the "second stage of life" guided by the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius.

Pentecost Sunday: The power of the Spirit

Natl Catholic Reporter - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 8:00 AM
Scripture for Life: The gift of Easter and Pentecost, the gift of the Christ, is peace, which is a gift of the Spirit. Peace, the hope of all creation, is the gift given, now waiting for humanity to bring it to fruition.

Washington nonprofit warns against pandemic restrictions on immigration

Natl Catholic Reporter - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 8:00 AM
The Washington-based American Immigration Council said restrictions issued by the Trump administration during the coronavirus pandemic are being used to implement immigration limitations White House officials have sought for a long time.

The Holy Spirit in and of the Church

Catholic World Report - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 5:54 AM
Condensing forty-five pages of the Catechism into a brief reflection is a frustrating exercise, especially when the topic is the meaning of life in the Church. The approach here is not so much to summarize [...]

May. 30 Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter, Weekday - Liturgical year - Sat, 05/30/2020 - 4:00 AM
Today is the feast of Pope St. Felix I, who governed the Church from 268 to 273. St. Felix I was buried in the "crypt of the popes," in the catacomb of St. Callixtus, and is often confused with the second century martyr St. Felix, a victim of persecution under the Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Maryland county withdraws restriction that would have curtailed Eucharist

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 7:36 PM
Regulations for the reopening of religious institutions developed by a Maryland county that seemed to disallow the distribution of holy Communion were withdrawn after church leaders voiced opposition.

Pandemic hinders Catholic response to Minneapolis killing

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 7:31 PM
In normal times, pastors say, churches would be places for grieving or even organizing in response to events like George Floyd's death. But in these times, local Catholic communities are finding other ways to show solidarity.


Catholic League - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 6:08 PM
Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the New York State legislature's latest extension of the Child Victims Act: The Child Victims Act, which allows for a suspension of the statute of limitations for sexual crimes against minors in New York State, was passed last August by Albany legislators and was set to expire this [...]

Statement of U.S. Bishop Chairmen in Wake of Death of George Floyd and National Protests

USCCB News - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 6:01 PM

WASHINGTON – Seven U.S. bishop chairmen of committees within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have issued a statement in the wake of the death of Mr. George Floyd and the protests which have broken out in Minneapolis and in other cities in the United States.

Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism; Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez of Philadelphia, chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, chairman of the Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs; Bishop David G. O’Connell, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, chairman of the Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development; and Bishop Joseph N. Perry, auxiliary bishop of Chicago, chairman of the Subcommittee on African American Affairs have issued the following statement:

We are broken-hearted, sickened, and outraged to watch another video of an African American man being killed before our very eyes. What’s more astounding is that this is happening within mere weeks of several other such occurrences. This is the latest wake-up call that needs to be answered by each of us in a spirit of determined conversion.

Racism is not a thing of the past or simply a throwaway political issue to be bandied about when convenient. It is a real and present danger that must be met head on. As members of the Church, we must stand for the more difficult right and just actions instead of the easy wrongs of indifference. We cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life. We serve a God of love, mercy, and justice.

While it is expected that we will plead for peaceful non-violent protests, and we certainly do, we also stand in passionate support of communities that are understandably outraged. Too many communities around this country feel their voices are not being heard, their complaints about racist treatment are unheeded, and we are not doing enough to point out that this deadly treatment is antithetical to the Gospel of Life.

As we said eighteen months ago in our most recent pastoral letter against racism, Open Wide Our Hearts, for people of color some interactions with police can be fraught with fear and even danger. People of good conscience must never turn a blind eye when citizens are being deprived of their human dignity and even their lives. Indifference is not an option. “As bishops, we unequivocally state that racism is a life issue.”

We join Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis in praying for the repose of the soul of Mr. George Floyd and all others who have lost their lives in a similar manner. We plead for an end to the violence in the wake of this tragedy and for the victims of the rioting. We pray for comfort for grieving families and friends. We pray for peace across the United States, particularly in Minnesota, while the legal process moves forward. We also anticipate a full investigation that results in rightful accountability and actual justice.

We join our brother bishops to challenge everyone to come together, particularly with those who are from different cultural backgrounds. In this encounter, let us all seek greater understanding amongst God’s people. So many people who historically have been disenfranchised continue to experience sadness and pain, yet they endeavor to persevere and remain people of great faith. We encourage our pastors to encounter and more authentically accompany them, listen to their stories, and learn from them, finding substantive ways to enact systemic change. Such encounters will start to bring about the needed transformation of our understanding of true life, charity, and justice in the United States. Hopefully, then there will be many voices speaking out and seeking healing against the evil of racism in our land.

As we anticipate the Solemnity of Pentecost this weekend, we call upon all Catholics to pray and work toward a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Let us pray for a supernatural desire to rid ourselves of the harm that bias and prejudice cause. We call upon Catholics to pray to the Holy Spirit for the Spirit of Truth to touch the hearts of all in the United States and to come down upon our criminal justice and law enforcement systems. Finally, let each and every Catholic, regardless of their ethnicity, beg God to heal our deeply broken view of each other, as well as our deeply broken society.


Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda, Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, Bishop David G. O’Connell, Bishop Joseph N. Perry, Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Subcommittee on African American Affairs, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.


Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte


Some European Catholic leaders echo pope's call for universal basic wage

Natl Catholic Reporter - Fri, 05/29/2020 - 5:40 PM
Catholic groups across Europe have echoed Pope Francis' call for a universal basic wage as part of recovery plans after the coronavirus pandemic.
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