Catholics remember MLK’s desire to see God’s message lived (Mon, 21 Jan 2019)
ATLANTA–The Atlanta Catholic community remembered the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a joyful Mass displaying the diversity of believers at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Jan. 19. The gospel music of the St. Anthony of Padua Church Choir. The lilting sounds of praise from the women of the Cameroonian community […] Full Story
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Vatican releases guidelines to help church fight human trafficking (Thu, 17 Jan 2019)
VATICAN CITY (CNS)—The Vatican has created a set of pastoral guidelines to inspire and improve the church’s work in addressing the crime of human trafficking and the care of its victims worldwide.
The Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development released its “Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking” Jan. 17 at […] Full Story
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Government shutdown won’t deter crowds from marching for life in Washington (Wed, 16 Jan 2019)
WASHINGTON (CNS)—Neither snow nor sleet—nor partial government shutdown—will keep pro-lifers away from the nation’s capital for the March for Life Jan. 18. If it continues, the shutdown will be
almost a month old by then. Daily news reports show the closures of monuments, memorials and the Smithsonian museums in Washington and trash cans overflowing on […] Full Story
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Annual poll shows 75 percent of adults want restrictions on abortion (Wed, 16 Jan 2019)
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Just in time for the annual March for Life, an annual poll of Americans’ views on abortion shows that 75 percent want “substantial” restrictions on abortion access even as more
than half of respondents describe themselves as “pro-choice.” Conducted by the Marist Poll at Marist College, the survey of 1,066 adults Jan. […] Full Story
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Abuse report’s claim of cover-up, mishandling of cases called ‘misleading’ (Tue, 15 Jan 2019)
Peter Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, former religion writer for The New York Times and professor emeritus at Fordham University in New York, reviewed the report of the Pennsylvania
Grand Jury Report alleging widespread abuse of hundreds of priests and a coverup by bishops in six dioceses. He found fault with the report and […] Full Story
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Puerto Rico: ‘An unprecedented level of need’ (Mon, 06 Nov 2017)
Catholic News Service was the first major Catholic news organization to send a photographer and a reporter to tour the island and document the efforts of the church and other organizations to help
many of the people far from the capital of San Juan. Continue reading → >> Read more
Historic Tomb of Michelangelo and altarpiece in dire need of repairs (Wed, 11 Oct 2017)
By Matthew Fowler ROME (CNS) — The historic tomb of Michelangelo and the Buonarroti family altarpiece in the Church of Santa Croce in Florence are in dire need of cleaning and restoration due to
sustained damage over the past 50 … Continue reading → >> Read more
A look back at the Legion of Decency (Thu, 17 Aug 2017)
By Mark Pattison and Julie Asher WASHINGTON (CNS) — It’s summertime and the movies are plentiful. As everyone knows the summer movie season is a big one for Hollywood, and when it comes to a close,
it is followed closely … Continue reading → >> Read more
Jamboree called ‘life-changing event’ for youths, adults (Fri, 28 Jul 2017)
Here’s a dispatch from Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia sent earlier this week by Msgr. John B. Brady from the national Scout jamboree, which closed today. A retired
priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, he became … Continue reading → >> Read more
Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, July 23, 2017 (Fri, 21 Jul 2017)
July 23, Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A. Readings: 1) Wisdom 12:13, 16-19 Psalm 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16
2) Romans 8:26-27 Gospel: Matthew 13:24-33 By Sharon K. Perkins Catholic News … Continue reading → >> Read more
John C. Quinn tended to the ‘least of these’ in U.S. newsrooms (Fri, 14 Jul 2017)
WASHINGTON (CNS) – I’m convinced that around the country, and perhaps the world, there are many letters similar to the one I received in the mail some 18 years ago. It was written by hand and it
ended with a … Continue reading → >> Read more
Some cheese with your ‘whine’: Pope ‘establishes’ complaint-free zone (Fri, 14 Jul 2017)
By Junno Arocho Esteves Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis left a not-so-subtle message outside his office in the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence: anyone who is thinking of
making a fuss, leave your whining at the door. … Continue reading → >> Read more
Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, July 16, 2017 (Thu, 13 Jul 2017)
July 16, Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A. Readings: 1) Isaiah 55:10-11 Psalm 65:10-14
2) Romans 8:18-23 Gospel: Matthew 13:1-23 By Jeff Hedglen Catholic News Service It seems as though every time … Continue reading → >> Read more
Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, July 9, 2017 (Fri, 07 Jul 2017)
The Scriptures this weekend contain a familiar, but difficult text. “Take my yoke upon you,” Jesus says. “For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” Continue reading → >> Read more
Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, July 2, 2017 (Fri, 30 Jun 2017)
July 2, Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A. Readings: 1) 2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a Psalm 89:2-3,
16-19 2) Romans 6:3-4, 8-11 Gospel: Matthew 10:37-42 By Beverly Corzine Catholic News Service One winter morning I awoke …
Continue reading → >> Read more
Youth at Mass for Life thanked for offering sign of hope for the future (Fri, 18 Jan 2019)
Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, addresses young people at the beginning of
the Mass for Life at Capital One Arena in Washington Jan. 18 before the annual March for Life. A youth rally preceded the liturgy. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
They came from near and far, and even from Down Under, united in prayer and in standing together for life at the Archdiocese of Washington's annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life, held Jan. 18 at
the Capital One Arena in Washington.
The estimated crowd of 18,000 came from the Washington area and from across the country and were joined by young adults from Sydney on their way to World Youth Day in Panama.
The main celebrant at the Mass, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, entered and left the arena smiling and waving a blessing to the spirited crowd of teens and
young adults, many of whom wore colorful, matching hats or sweatshirts along with their school uniforms.
They had come, the archbishop said, for a day of prayer for the legal protection of unborn children and to stand up and speak out for all those who are vulnerable in society, and also "to give
thanks to God for the gift of life."
"Dear young people, thank you for the witness of your Catholic faith, both now in holy Mass, on the streets of Washington, and more importantly, when you return home to your families and
neighborhoods," he said.
Archbishop Pierre read a message from Pope Francis, who said he was united in prayer with the thousands of young people who had come to Washington to join the March for Life. The pontiff in his
message said the challenging task for each generation is "to uphold the inviolable dignity of human life." The pope's message said respect for the sacredness of every life is essential in building a
just society, where every child, and every person, is welcomed as a brother and sister.
Fifteen other bishops concelebrated the Mass including the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and Sydney Archbishop Anthony
Fisher who was accompanying the Australian pilgrims. About 175 priests also concelebrated the Mass, assisted by about 30 permanent deacons.
The arena crowd also included an estimated 500 seminarians and 100 women religious.
Opening his homily at the Mass, Father Robert Boxie III, the parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Largo, Maryland, said, "To see this arena filled with the Body of Christ, I'm looking out and
seeing hope for the future of our church, and hope for the future of our country. It's an awesome and beautiful sight!"
Noting that the first reading at the Mass included the passage from Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you," the priest added, "The womb is the first place God encounters us.
God encounters us in the womb and seeks to encounter us in each moment of our lives."
Young people smile as they participate in a pro-life youth rally and Mass at Capital One Arena in Washington Jan.
18 before the annual March for Life. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
He said abortion is a symptom of a sickness in society and it shows "our failure to encounter one another and see the image of God and the face of Jesus Christ in our brothers and sisters. Simply
put, it's our failure to love."
Echoing concerns raised by Pope Francis, the priest called on young people to counteract society's culture of indifference with a culture of encounter.
"Truly building a culture of life depends on how we encounter each other," he said, encouraging people not only to march for life, but to "stand up for every human life inside and outside the
womb," including people in all stages of life, and also the poor, the neglected, immigrants and refugees. "All of these lives," he added, "are sacred and precious in the eyes of God."
Archbishop Fisher then greeted the young people at the arena with a friendly, "G'day!" and jokingly added that is the Australian way of saying, "The Lord be with you."
He said it was a great joy for him to accompany the young Aussies on the March for Life.
The Australian prelate said he hoped some of the young people in the arena would become priests or women religious or become "spouses and parents of the next generation of Christians… Whatever
God's plan for you, know you are precious in his eyes," from the moment of conception until death, he said.
Sister Maria Juan, a Religious Sister of Mercy of Alma, Michigan, served as a master of ceremony for the youth rally, and at the end of Mass, she noted the bishops and the large numbers of
priests, women religious and seminarians there, and the crowd gave them sustained applause. Some of the young people stood to indicate that they were discerning a vocation, and they too were
The sister noted that "in the church today, we are experiencing a lot of trials," but she added through the 2,000-year history of the church, "at those exact moments, God also raises up great
saints to be light in the darkness."
She added, "Always remember it is Jesus Christ calling you to this, the church loves you and the world needs you."
The Mass's program encouraged young people to continue their advocacy for life after the march, by doing things like volunteering at a pregnancy center, starting or joining a pro-life club,
educating peers on chastity and the church's teaching on life, being open and loving to teens in crisis, and praying for mothers, fathers and unborn children.
The Mass ended on a joyful note, as the congregation sang the song, "Your Grace is Enough," and some of the bishops and priests as they processed out, waved to young people in the different
sections of the arena.
- - -
Zimmermann is editor of the Catholic Standard, archdiocesan newspaper of Washington.
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Report says accurate number of children separated at border is unknown (Fri, 18 Jan 2019)
A migrant child sleeps while he is carried by a family member in 2018 as part of a caravan heading to the U.S.
walks in Tijuana, Mexico, along the U.S.-Mexico border fence. (CNS photo/Leah Millis, Reuters)
A report published Jan. 17 says the number of immigrant children separated from their parents at the border last year is unknown and the number given out by government officials at the end of
2018, saying that 2,737 children were separated, is not accurate. The number may be much higher.
The separations officially reported were those that took place between July and November 2018, when then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced what he called a zero tolerance policy, which
meant that undocumented migrant parents caught crossing the border with their children would risk being separated from them. After some lawsuits were filed and much public outcry, the policy was
But the report from the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services, says children had been separated from parents or guardians long before then and the Department
of Homeland Security which implemented the policy, even saw an uptick in separations in 2017. Some children may also have been separated after the policy officially ended.
Several Catholic bishops last year spoke out against the separations.
"Refugee children belong to their parents, not to the government or other institution. To steal children from their parents is a grave sin, immoral (and) evil," said San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo
Garcia-Siller on June 14 via Twitter. "Their lives have already been extremely difficult. Why do we (the U.S.) torture them even more, treating them as criminals?" he continued.
Bishop Daniel E. Flores of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, also said via Twitter on May 31 that "separating immigrant parents and children as a supposed deterrent to immigration is a cruel and
reprehensible policy. Children are not instruments of deterrence, they are children. A government that thinks any means is suitable to achieve an end cannot secure justice for anyone."
At the height of the separations in July 2018, Bishop Flores joined a group of top prelates who visited one of the detention centers where the minors were detained and the "respite center"
for families who had recently crossed the border near the McAllen, Texas run by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.
Catholic organizations such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Migration and Refugee Services and Catholic Charities USA helped reunite some of the families in the summer and fall of
2018. They were among the faith organizations that helped provide food, shelter and facilities to reunite the children with their parents once again.
The report says the real number of separations may exceed into the thousands, but it's hard to pin down accurate information because of a poor tracking system and poor communication among the
agencies that were involved. The office took on the task of looking at the numbers of children separated, the inspector general report said, "given the potential impact of these actions on vulnerable
In October, the same office that issued the report said DHS, the department tasked with implementing the policy, "was not fully prepared to implement the administration's zero tolerance policy or
to deal with some of its after-effects. Faced with resource limitations and other challenges, DHS regulated the number of asylum-seekers entering the country through ports of entry at the same time
that it encouraged asylum-seekers to come to the ports. During zero tolerance, (U.S. Customs and Border Protection), also held alien children separated from their parents for extended periods in
facilities intended solely for short-term detention."
The department "also struggled to identify, track, and reunify families separated under zero tolerance due to limitations with its information technology systems, including a lack of integration
between systems," the Office of Inspector General said in October. "Finally, DHS provided inconsistent information to aliens who arrived with children during zero tolerance, which resulted in some
parents not understanding that they would be separated from their children, and being unable to communicate with their children after separation."
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Pope says it's 'grave sin' to deny God has blessed other Christians (Fri, 18 Jan 2019)
Pope Francis processes alongside Orthodox Metropolitan Gennadios of Italy, at right in black, as he arrives to
preside over an ecumenical prayer service Jan. 18 at Rome's Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. The service marked the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. (CNS photo/Paul
Just as divisions in society grow when wealth is not shared, divisions within Christianity grow when the richness of gifts God has given to one Christian church or community are not recognized and
shared, Pope Francis said.
"It is easy to forget the fundamental equality existing among us: that once we were all slaves to sin, that the Lord saved us in baptism and called us his children," the pope said Jan. 18 during
an ecumenical evening prayer service at Rome's Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.
At the beginning of the service, Pope Francis, Orthodox Metropolitan Gennadios of Italy and Malta and the Rev. Tim Macquiban, minister of Rome's Ponte Sant'Angelo Methodist Church, paused for a
moment of prayer before the presumed tomb of St. Paul.
The prayer service marked the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The theme for 2019 -- "Justice, Only Justice, Shall You Pursue" -- was chosen by a group of Christians in
Members of the group, Pope Francis said, chose the passage from Deuteronomy because "they are deeply concerned that the economic growth of their country, driven by the mentality of competition, is
leaving many in poverty and allowing a small few to become immensely wealthy."
And, he said, "that is not simply the case in Indonesia; it is a situation we see worldwide. When society is no longer based on the principle of solidarity and the common good, we witness the
scandal of people living in utter destitution amid skyscrapers, grand hotels and luxurious shopping centers, symbols of incredible wealth."
"We have forgotten the wisdom of the Mosaic law: If wealth is not shared, society is divided," the pope said.
In an analogous way, he said, Christians also tend to forget that they are brothers and sisters, equally saved through baptism.
"It is easy to think that the spiritual grace granted us is our property, something to which we are due, our property," the pope said. Or one group of Christians can be so focused on the gifts
they have received from God that they are blind to the gifts God has given others.
"It is a grave sin," he said, "to belittle or despise the gifts that the Lord has given our brothers and sisters, and to think that God somehow holds them in less esteem."
God's grace, the pope said, must never "become a source of pride, injustice and division."
The path to Christian unity, the oneness that Jesus prayed his disciples would have, begins with humbly recognizing that "the blessings we have received are not ours by right, but have come to us
as a gift; they were given to be shared with others," he said.
Connected with that, he said, is an acknowledgment of "the value of the grace granted to other Christian communities."
"A Christian people renewed and enriched by this exchange of gifts will be a people capable of journeying firmly and confidently on the path that leads to unity," the pope said.
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Shutdown finds Catholic Charities agencies working to meet growing needs (Fri, 18 Jan 2019)
Robert Archie knows he'd be homeless if it wasn't for the Rapid Re-housing program run by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey.
A data specialist with the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Archie has been in the program since mid-2018. He told Catholic News Service it has brought stability to his life: He's no
longer on the streets, has paid off long-standing debt and helps support his 12-year-old son.
While Archie, 40, is set to move out of the program at the end of January -- by design -- some of his friends benefitting from it are wondering what's going to happen Feb. 1 when Catholic
Charities will no longer be receiving Department of Housing and Urban Development funds to run it because of the partial federal government shutdown.
"In my opinion, it would be devastating for a program like this to take a hit during a time like this when the country actually needs it," Archie said.
Mosudi Idowu, the program's director for Catholic Charities in Trenton, said 27 people face questions about their housing situation. He said they are afraid of being forced into a shelter or even
the streets in the peak of winter.
He also expressed concern that there appears no end in sight to the nearly monthlong shutdown.
"If it goes on indefinitely, it will affect all of our programs," Idowu told CNS. "We're talking to our congressional representative and city officials to let them now of the impact of the
shutdown on our program."
The Trenton program receives funds under HUD's the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, which was established under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act adopted in
response to the Great Recession.
The program provides short-term rental assistance and other services to people who are homeless or are facing homelessness. Its goals include helping people find housing quickly, increasing
self-sufficiency and making sure people stay housed.
In the short term, Idowu and his staff are providing referrals to other community agencies that may have money to prevent homelessness.
At the same time, Idowu is just as concerned for his own family because he faces either being laid off or working without a paycheck beginning in February.
"We advise the government to open for business," Idowu said. "They need a plan that will really work for the people."
Key government-funded programs -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Section 8 rent subsidies and Department of Agriculture's Farm Services Agency -- are the focus of efforts by Catholic
Charities USA to press Congress and the Trump administration to end the shutdown.
"We're giving them a reminder that this isn't a Washington problem. We're reminding people it's also your local communities that are being affected," Lucas Swanepoel, vice president for social
policy at Catholic Charities USA, told CNS.
Under federal rules, several states have advanced February payments to people enrolled in SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. Notices have advised enrollees to properly budget so their allotment
will carry through Feb. 28.
But in some communities, Catholic Charities agencies already are offering food distribution to federal employees and contractors and are preparing contingencies to fill other human needs gaps that
might emerge should the shutdown last for weeks more.
Federal workers have already missed one paycheck but are expected to receive back pay. However, people who work for government contractors, largely in low-wage jobs, have been laid off and are not
guaranteed of making up their lost income, creating a potentially new pool of clients for agencies.
In the Diocese of Salt Lake City, the shutdown has become a major concern in Ogden, Utah, where more than 5,000 people are employed by the Internal Revenue Service alone.
"A lot of the jobs in this area are some of the more entry-level positions," said Maresha Bosgieter, director of Catholic Community Services of Northern Utah. "They're still living paycheck to
paycheck. For those families, not knowing when they will receive their next paycheck can be very stressful."
Catholic Community Services' Joyce Hansen Hall food bank has seen a 50 percent increase in clients from the usual 100 families a day that come through its doors.
"If this (shutdown) goes on too long, we may have to reach out to our partners and the public for extra assistance," Bosgieter said.
In the Archdiocese of Washington, federal workers in need have received emergency funds. Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley based in Dayton, Ohio, has started sending a food truck to
outlying areas more frequently than the usual once or twice a month. Several agencies are raising funds directly for federal workers. And in Dallas, Honolulu and Burlington, Vermont, while agencies
were feeling minimal impact in mid-January, staffers were gearing up to respond to needs should demand for services grow.
Meanwhile, Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, is not just preparing to respond to increased needs because of the shutdown, but it is also planning for the March closure of the
General Motors assembly plant in Lordstown.
Rachel Hrbolich, diocesan director of Catholic Charities, said she expects her agency will see people seeking assistance for rent or mortgage payments.
In addition, she added, the cutoff of government reimbursements for social services is expected to stress the agency.
"It's almost like a double whammy. The people face a lack of resources and the agency's facing a lack of funding," Hrbolich told CNS.
"Come March what are we going to do?" she asked.
"We have to work as a community to try to keep people steady, that things hold steady. We're just praying that this thing can be over. It's going to have a big effect if things aren't resolved
Robert McCann, president and CEO of Catholic Charities Spokane, Washington, told CNS that Section 8 project-based voucher contracts were being renewed as the shutdown began and that those
contracts remain unsigned, jeopardizing housing for low-income senior citizens, families and disabled people.
His agency also began accumulating additional food and contributing money into a reserve fund in December to meet growing needs, especially in rural areas.
"If the shutdown were to actually continue for months, and we pray it does not, you could see tens of thousands of people in the Diocese of Spokane who had already been living at or below the
federal poverty line end up being propelled further downward into outright food insecurity and even homelessness," he said.
"The shutdown seems to boil down to the digging in of heels and the building of walls," McCann added. "If it continues long enough, it will start to build a wall around our ability to reveal God's
love to the poor and vulnerable and dig already fragile people into a bigger hole than they already find themselves in."
- - -
Contributing to this story was Linda Peterson, who writes for Intermountain Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Salt Lake City.
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U.S. Senate fails to pass measure to make Hyde Amendment permanent (Fri, 18 Jan 2019)
In a vote on the eve of the annual March for Life, the Senate Jan. 17 failed to pass a measure that would have codified the Hyde Amendment, which forbids federal funding for most abortions or
Called the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2019, or S. 109, the bill also would have required health plans offered under the Affordable Care Act to
disclose "the extent of their coverage for abortion and the amount of any surcharge for that coverage to consumers."
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-life Activities, wrote Congress ahead of the vote to urge support for the
"Abortion is a false and violent response to an unplanned pregnancy that turns a woman in crisis and her unborn child against each other," he said, adding that the federal government "should not
force taxpayers to subsidize this violence."
A USCCB spokeswoman on pro-life expressed disappointment in the Senate's failure to pass the measure.
"Taxpayer dollars should not pay for abortion. The majority of Americans, including many who consider themselves pro-choice, agree on this," said Kat Talalas.
"The USCCB urges the House and Senate to work together to pass legislation that reflects the will of the American people, and prevents tax dollars from funding elective abortion,” she said in a
In the House Jan. 17, in a bipartisan version of the bill was introduced by Reps. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, Dan Lipinski, D-Illinois, and Andy Harris, R-Maryland.
Since 1976, "the Hyde Amendment has saved at least 2 million lives: because public funds were unavailable to effectuate their violent demise, these individuals survived, and their mothers
benefited from prenatal health care and support,” Smith said in a statement.
He cited statistics from the Washington-based Charlotte Lozier Institute, the education and research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List pro-life organization.
"Two million survivors have had the opportunity to live and enjoy the first and most basic of all human rights -- the right to life. It's time to make the Hyde Amendment permanent law," Smith
President Donald Trump said in a Jan. 17 statement ahead of the failed vote that he would have signed the bill if it had reached his desk. A statement from the administration note that S. 109
"would not affect the treatment of any complication caused or worsened by an abortion" or denied abortions "in the case of rape, incest or preserving the life of the mother.
By codifying the Hyde Amendment, the statement said, it would protect "the conscience rights of taxpayers who find abortion morally or religiously objectionable."
The Senate vote was 48-47 in favor of S. 109, but the bill needed 60 votes to advance.
Nevertheless, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said the outcome still sent "a strong signal" that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and "the
pro-life Senate majority will be a ‘brick wall' against pro-abortion House Democrats' extreme agenda, which includes forcing taxpayers to pay for abortion on demand by repealing the Hyde
The long-standing Hyde Amendment has exceptions for abortions in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered. The language in the trafficking measure, known as S. 178,
accounts for the fact because the federal grants it creates would be funded by fees rather than taxes.
Hyde has routinely been applied to annual appropriations bill since 1976.
The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 without Hyde Amendment-like protections. A day after he signed it into law, President Barack Obama issued an executive order to applying the Hyde
Amendment restrictions to health insurance exchanges getting federal subsidies.
Despite the order, the Government Accountability Office in a September 2014 report identified more than 1,000 such plans that cover elective abortions.
The health care law also required insurers to estimate the cost of coverage of abortion per enrollee per month and to collect from each enrollee a premium for that coverage that is "segregated
from any other premium amounts."
Dannenfelser praised the only two Democrats who voted for the measure, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.
In other Senate action on pro-life issues, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, reintroduced the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act Jan. 17. The measure would limit late-term abortions
more than halfway through pregnancy, a point when science shows unborn children can feel pain.
On Jan. 16, 169 House members led by Smith and 49 senators led by Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, sent two companion letters asking Trump to veto any legislation that would weaken federal pro-life
Smith said the letter asked Trump "to continue his work in defense of life. My colleagues and I are also committed to protecting both unborn children and their mothers from the violence of
The signers are committed to sustaining "any veto issued by the president on the grounds that any pro-life provision has been weakened or removed," Smith added.
In a statement, Daines said lawmakers "will not allow hard fought protections for the unborn to be undone. I stand strongly in defense of the president's pro-life victories and will continue to
work with my colleagues to advance our pro-life agenda."
The senators' letter also noted the administration's work to "ensure the conscience rights of health care professionals are protected" and its Protect Life Rule to exclude abortion providers,
including Planned Parenthood, from funding under the Title X Family Planning Program.
>> Read more
Martin Luther King Jr hailed as an example of 'artisans of peace' (Mon, 21 Jan 2019)
Washington D.C., Jan 21, 2019 / 02:35 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston has called civil rights
leader Martin Luther King Jr. an exemplar of the “artisans of peace” called for by the pope.
King “was a messenger and true witness to the power of the gospel lived in action through public life,” read the statement from the president of the USCCB to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“We are thankful for the path forged by Dr. King and the countless others who worked tirelessly and suffered greatly in the fight for racial equality and justice. As a nation and as a society, we
face great challenges as well as tremendous opportunities ahead.”
King is remembered as a Baptist minister and the most visible leader of the civil rights movement, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and as the founding president of the
Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He was assassinated in 1968 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
Cardinal DiNardo noted the US bishops' recent pastoral letter on racism, which aims
to “name and call attention to a great affliction and evil that persists in this nation, and to offer a hope-filled Christian response to this perennial sickness. Racism is a national wound from
which we continually struggle to heal.”
“Today, remembering how Dr. King contended with policies and institutional barriers of his time, many which persist today, we renew our pledge to fight for the end of racism in the Church and in the
United States. We pledge our commitment to build a culture of life, where all people are valued for their intrinsic dignity as daughters and sons of God,” the cardinal wrote.
“We encourage Catholics and all people of good will to study the pastoral letter, and to study and reflect upon Dr. King’s witness against the destructive effects of racism, poverty and continuous
Cardinal DiNardo also called “on everyone to embrace our ongoing need for healing in all areas of our lives where we are wounded, but particularly where our hearts are not truly open to the idea and
the truth that we are all made in the image and likeness of God.”
He concluded quoting King's words that “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. We must learn to live together as brothers or
perish together as fools.”
>> Read more
After Covington Catholic students caught in social media maelstrom, fuller picture emerges (Mon, 21 Jan 2019)
Washington D.C., Jan 21, 2019 / 01:28 pm (CNA).- A wave of media attention engulfed this weekend a group of students who attended
last week’s annual March for Life in Washington, DC. The students, most of whom attend Catholic high schools in Kentucky, were accused on Saturday of harassing and taunting a Native American drummer,
but subsequent revelations revealed a decidedly more complicated picture.
Videos began to circulate on Saturday that depicted portions of a Jan. 18 incident close to the Lincoln Memorial, in which students who had attended the March for Life were part of a confluence of
demonstrators near the Memorial, some from a Washington-based religious group called the Black Israelites, and some from the Indigenous Peoples’ March, which took place in Washington on the same day
as the larger March for Life.
Initially, the portions of the video that emerged, and quickly went viral, depicted a crowd of teenage boys chanting, dancing, and doing the “tomahawk chop” cheer, while a Native American man played
a drum in chanted in close proximity to one teenage boy, who stood squarely before the drummer, without saying anything as the drumming and chanting continued directly in front of him.
The drummer was soon identified as Nathan Phillips, an elder of the Omaha Tribe and Native American rights activist.
The students were described in some media reports as “surrounding” Phillips, or “taunting” him, and became the subject of widespread condemnation from media figures and some Catholic leaders, who
accused them of disrespect, racism, and antagonism. Some students were wearing hats depicting the 2016 campaign slogan of President Donald Trump, “Make America Great Again,” some commentators and
social media figures suggested the hats could be evidence of racist motives on the part of the students.
Within hours, the school some of the students attended, Covington Catholic High School, along with the Diocese of Covington, issued a statement condemning “the actions of the Covington Catholic High
School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general…We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teachings on the
dignity and respect of the human person”
“This matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion,” the statement said.
“We know this incident also has tainted the entire witness of the March for Life and express our most sincere apologies to all those who attended the March and all those who support the pro-life
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville, and Kentucky’s metropolitan archbishop, issued a statement shortly thereafter.
“I join with Bishop Foys in condemning the actions of the Covington Catholic students towards Mr. Nathan Phillips and the Native American Community yesterday in Washington. I have every
confidence that the leadership of the Diocese of Covington will thoroughly investigate what occurred and address those all involved in this shameful act of disrespect,” Kurtz wrote Jan. 19.
Similarly, the March for Life itself also tweeted a statement criticizing the reported actions of the students.
Congresswoman Deb Haaland, (D-NM), tweeted Saturday: “This Veteran put his life on the line for our country. The students’ display of blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance is a signal of how
common decency has decayed under this administration. Heartbreaking.”
However, even as initial footage went viral, facts began to emerge that pointed to a more complicated narrative. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Phillips approached the students, who, he
claimed, were chanting “Build that Wall,” a chant associated with Trump’s call for a security wall, or fence, at the U.S. border with Mexico.
Phillips initially told The Washington Post that he was surrounded by the students after he approached them with his drum, and that “It was getting ugly, and I was thinking: ‘I’ve got to find myself
an exit out of this situation and finish my song at the Lincoln Memorial.’ I started going that way, and that guy in the hat stood in my way and we were at an impasse. He just blocked my way and
wouldn’t allow me to retreat.”
Later, emerging video footage demonstrated that several of those demonstrating alongside Phillips approached the students, with some telling them to “go back to Europe,” and swearing at them. And a
2015 report emerged in which Phillips claimed to have been the victim of a racist attack by students at Eastern Michigan University, whom, he told Fox 2 at the time, he approached, and who, he said,
eventually taunted him with racial slurs and threw an unopened beer can at him. No charges were filed in connection to that incident.
Subsequent media reports and videos recounted that the high school students had been the subject of taunts by the Black Israelite group, demonstrating nearby, and that Phillips claimed he was trying
to intervene between the two groups. However, Phillips did not identify himself or his intentions to the students when he approached them, rather, he continued drumming and chanting.
Phillips told the Detroit Free Press Sunday that the students “were in the process of attacking these four black individuals," and he intervened to stop the attack. He said the students then turned
their anger toward him.
"There was that moment when I realized I've put myself between beast and prey," Phillips said. "These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between
them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that," he said.
"The Black Israelites, they were saying some harsh things, but some of it was true, too. These young, white American kids who were being taught in their Catholic school, their doctrine, their truth,
and when they found out there's more truth out there than what they're being taught, they were offended, they were insulted, they were scared, and that's how they responded. One thing that I was
taught in my Marine Corp training is that a scared man will kill you. And that's what these boys were. They were scared," Phillips said.
Video footage did not show the students attacking the members of the Black Israelite movement, who are heard to shout disparaging remarks at the students, most of them concerning the Catholic Church
The student at the center of the firestorm, identified as Covington Catholic High School junior Nick Sandmann, issued a statement Sunday night.
Sandmann said he and his fellow students were waiting for their bus after the March for Life, when “ we noticed four African American protestors who were also on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I
am not sure what they were protesting, and I did not interact with them. I did hear them direct derogatory insults at our school group.”
“The protestors said hateful things. They called us ‘racists,’ ‘bigots,’ ‘white crackers,’ ‘faggots,’ and ‘incest kids.’ They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him
that we would ‘harvest his organs.’ I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear.
In response to those taunts, students began chanting “school spirit chants,” with permission of a chaperone, Sandmann said. He said he did not hear students chant other things.
“After a few minutes of chanting, the Native American protestors, who I hadn’t previously noticed, approached our group. The Native American protestors had drums and were accompanied by at least one
person with a camera.”
“The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him. I did not see anyone try to block his path. He locked eyes with me and
approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face,” Sandmann recounted.
“I never interacted with this protestor. I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me.
We had already been yelled at by another group of protestors, and when the second group approached I was worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke
“I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of
teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.”
While Sandmann said that he heard protestors tell the students that he had “stolen” Native American land and should “go back to Europe,” he urged calm from his fellow students.
“I never felt like I was blocking the Native American protester. He did not make any attempt to go around me. It was clear to me that he had singled me out for a confrontation, although I am not sure
“I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger
confrontation. I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me – to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead
to conflict or violence,” Sandmann said.
The student said that he had provided his account to the Diocese of Covington.
After a fuller picture of events emerged, many media and Catholic figures apologized for their initial characterization of the event, with some admitting they had made judgments without sufficient
The March for Life tweeted Sunday night that “Given recent developments regarding the incident on Friday evening, March for Life has deleted its original tweet and removed our statement on this
matter from our website. It is clear from new footage and additional accounts that there is more to this story than the original video captured. We will refrain from commenting further until
the truth is understood.”
The Diocese of Covington has not indicated what the next steps will be in its investigation of the matter.
CNA attempted to contact the Diocese of Covington and the Archdiocese of Louisville. Neither was available for comment as of press time.
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Bishops ‘encouraged’ by Trump proposal for Dreamers, urge permanent solution (Mon, 21 Jan 2019)
Washington D.C., Jan 21, 2019 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has responded cautiously to
President Donald Trump’s proposal to extend protections for those eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, commonly referred to
The president proposed an extension, along with other measures, in exchange for funding for a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The president made the proposals January 19 as part of the
ongoing efforts to end the partial government shutdown which has now lasted nearly a month.
“We are encouraged by the president’s openness to providing legislative relief for TPS holders and existing DACA recipients,” the bishops wrote in a Jan. 20 statement signed by USCCB president
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration.
“However, we understand that the President’s proposal would only provide temporary relief, leaving many in a continued vulnerable state. We believe that a permanent legislative solution for TPS
holders and for all Dreamers is vital.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate minority leader Chuck Shumer (D-NY) dismissed the president’s proposals, with Shumer calling them “not a compromise but more hostage taking.”
The statement from DiNardo and Vásquez said that temporary measures would do little to reassure the families of children currently without a permanent resolution to their status.
“Throughout our parishes, there are many DACA youth and TPS holders, who have lived substantial parts of their lives in the U.S. contributing to this country. We listen [to] and understand the fear
and uncertainty they and their families face and the anguish that they are currently experiencing as their existing immigration protections hang in the balance and come to an end,” the statement
“Temporary relief will not ease those fears or quell that anxiety. It is for this reason that we have long advocated for comprehensive immigration reform; reform that will provide permanent
solutions: including border security, protection for vulnerable unaccompanied children and asylum seekers, and a defined path to citizenship to enable our immigrant brothers and sisters to fully
contribute to our society.”
In a 13 minute address from the White House on Saturday, President Trump laid out what has been widely interpreted as a compromise offer on immigration and border security aimed at breaking the
impasse between the administration and congressional Democrats.
The president has been at loggerheads with Pelosi and Shumer over support for his so-called border wall. The impasse over federal funding has led to a partial shutdown which has left hundreds of
thousands of federal workers on furlough and without pay.
Trump said his offer to extend the existing status of TPS and DACA claimants was accompanied by other measures aimed at “protecting migrant children from exploitation and abuse,” including a proposal
to allow minors to apply for asylum in the U.S. from their country of origin.
The plan also includes $5.7 billion for what Trump called “a strategic deployment of physical barriers, or a wall” along the southern border.
On these proposals, the USCCB statement expressed serious reservations, saying the president’s plan could make the current situation for unaccompanied minors worse, not better.
“The proposal calls for the construction of a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, a proposal that our brother bishops on both sides of the U.S. border with Mexico oppose, and it suggests changes
in current law that would make it more difficult for unaccompanied children and asylum seekers to access protection.”
DiNardo and Vásquez urged leaders from both parties to reach a solution to the shutdown quickly and to recognize “the economic struggle that many families are facing, including those dependent on
federal workers and those assisted by critical nutrition and housing programs.”
“We look forward to reviewing the president’s proposal in detail and hope to work with the White House and Congress to advance legislation that shows compassion, keeps us safe, and protects the
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What the pope said when Martin Luther King was killed (Mon, 21 Jan 2019)
Memphis, Tenn., Jan 21, 2019 / 09:35 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., was fatally shot outside his
room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
King is remembered as the most visible leader of the civil rights movement, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and as the founding president of the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference. But he was first a pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, and remained active in pastoral leadership throughout his life.
On the day after King was killed, Pope Paul VI expressed remorse during his Angelus address, saying that the civil rights leader was “a Christian prophet for racial integration.”
Shortly after King’s death, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Council of Churches, the Synagogue Council of America, and the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in the
Americas released an interfaith statement, mourning their colleague in ministry.
We “bow together in grief before the shameful murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a unique apostle of the non-violent drive for justice, [and] affirm that no service of remembrance or local
memorial is equal to the greatness of his labor or the vastness of our national need.”
The faith leaders also applauded the efforts of Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1968, encouraged Americans to support measures favoring integration, and pled with government officials to
fund legislation aimed at fighting poverty.
We “affirm that only through massive contributions by the American people can this nation duly honor the life-offering of Martin Luther King, Jr. and responsibly lift up the burden of the poor and
oppressed in our land.”
The statement also promised to implement coordinated efforts among religious communities to fight poverty.
We “declare our intention to take immediate steps to develop a coordinated sacrificial effort on the part of the American religious community to help the disadvantaged,” the statement read.
Faith leaders were not the only ones to pay tribute to King after his assassination.
On the night King was killed, Senator Robert Kennedy, a Catholic, spoke to the people of Indianapolis, urging them to greater compassion and a deterrence from violence. Kennedy spoke during a stop on
his 1968 campaign for President, delivering the news to a multiracial crowd that King had been assassinated.
“What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and
compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black,” he said on April 4, 1968.
Kennedy referenced the assassination of his own brother, President John F. Kennedy, which had taken place in 1963.
“For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same
kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these
rather difficult times,” Kennedy said.
The senator urged Americans to take up King’s efforts, pray for King’s family and the nation, and join in solidarity those longing for peace.
“The vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who
abide in our land,” he added.
“I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, that's true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love--a prayer
for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.”
This article was originally published on CNA April 3, 2018.
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What Catholics can learn from ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ (Sun, 20 Jan 2019)
Denver, Colo., Jan 20, 2019 / 04:11 pm (CNA).- “Does it spark joy?”
That question has become a rallying cry for fans of Japanese cleaning guru Marie Kondo, whose 2012 book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” has become a New York Times bestseller and sold more
than 3 million copies.
Adherents of the KonMari Method, as it is known, are instructed to gather every piece of clothing in their house and put them all together in a pile. One-by-one, they take each item in their hands,
asking themselves, “Does this spark joy?” as a way of determining which items to keep and which to discard or donate. The process is repeated with all of their books, papers, miscellaneous items, and
sentimental belongings, in that order.
The bestselling book was recently turned into a popular Netflix reality show, in which Kondo visits the houses of people living in various situations – a family with young children whose home feels
chaotic and cluttered, a recently retired couple who have spent decades collecting clothes and baseball cards, a widow who cannot bring herself to get rid of any of her late husband’s possessions.
Kondo works through the process with them, showing the dramatic results that can be achieved by decluttering.
The KonMari tidying ritual bears some striking similarities to the annual purging of possessions undertaken by the Companions of Christ in Denver.
An association of diocesan priests and deacons who live a common life of prayer and fraternity, the Denver Companions of Christ
emphasize the observance of poverty, chastity and obedience in their ordained ministry.
As part of this commitment, they annually purge their possessions, on or around Ash Wednesday. If they are living in a community, they purge as a household.
They begin by physically laying out all of their belongings, a practice that Kondo also promotes, as it allows people to see how much they actually own, and to recognize where they have excess in
Following a series of guiding principles, the Companions then question each item as they make decisions about what to keep and what to discard.
“It kind of pushes you to admit whether or not you really need things,” says Fr. Mike Rapp, a member of the Denver community.
In an interview with CNA, Rapp said that taking a simple approach to material goods is something that can benefit all of the faithful – not just priests.
“For the Christian, this is a way of taking away those things that nickel-and-dime our lives, so that we can really have what we need and value that, and then have the space in our life, that sort of
openness, that quietness, to really follow the Lord – to hear his voice, to pay attention to God…serving other people and loving them.”
He noted that one of the instructions given by John the Baptist to prepare people for the coming of Christ was, “Whoever has two tunics should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food
should do likewise.”
“You don’t need anything excessive,” Rapp said. “If you have excess in your life, it can be a distraction. Just get rid of it.”
The Catholic Church teaches that the evangelical counsel of poverty – along with chastity and obedience – is proposed by Christ to all disciples, as a way of growing in the Christian life and
cooperating with grace.
Rapp pointed to Mark 10, in which a rich young man asks Christ what he must do to inherit eternal life. In addition to following the commandments, Christ instructs him to “Go sell what you have, give
to the poor…then come, follow me.” But Scripture says the young man went away sad, “for he had many possessions.”
Material possessions are not inherently evil, Rapp clarified. But when we become attached to them, they go from being necessary items that help us in life to becoming “a real detriment, a distraction
from the priorities” we should have.
Members of religious orders take a vow of poverty, which is generally lived in a very radical way, while canon law suggests that diocesan priests should live a simple life and give away any excess
that they have to the poor, Rapp said.
“I think that’s a pretty good general rule for everybody.”
Determining what is excess in one’s life is a matter of personal discernment, the priest said. In his community, members are guided by the principle, “Start with nothing, and keep only what you
Other guidelines include trying to limit belongings to what can be packed in a car – fitting for the life of mobility to which priests are called – and asking the question, “Have I used this within
the last year?”
“If you haven’t, you might not need it. You might not use it in the next 20 years,” Rapp said.
While they are purging, the Denver Companions pray in gratitude to God. This is a key part of the process – acknowledging that everything they possess is a gift from God and asking him to help them
see what they should be letting go of and detaching themselves from.
“We do the purge communally, so you show everybody what you have. There’s a certain accountability to it,” Rapp added. Their fellow priests can also challenge them on specific belongings, inviting
them to reflect on whether they actually need a certain item.
“We don’t actually need what we think we need,” he said.
For lay people, especially families with children, the criteria for what to keep may look different.
“It is really difficult when you have children of various ages to keep possessions simple, because there are various needs in the home happening all at the same time!” said Alicia Hernon, a mother of
10 children and the co-director, alongside her husband, of The Messy Family project and podcast.
“It’s hard for moms to give away clothes when you know you will have a child who will wear those clothes or play with those toys in just a few years,” she told CNA. “Yes, I would love to get rid of
all the extra toys and clothes, but not if I will have to replace them for the next child hitting that stage just a short time from now.”
“For us, living simply means that I had to have an effective storage system for clothes and a set time to take them out when needed. It also means that we had to do the same with certain toys.”
But while simplicity may look different for families – especially large ones – Hernon said there are still benefits to a simple lifestyle, especially because it helps family members “focus on the
people around us.”
“The fewer possessions we have, the less there is to clean, maintain and manage,” she said. “The fewer possessions children have, the more they will be encouraged to play outside and play with each
Catholics seeking to implement Kondo’s methods may notice that some of her practices display a sense of animism, the idea that inanimate objects have spirits. Kondo, who served for several years at a
Shinto shrine in Japan, greets the houses that she enters before tidying them. She encourages people to talk to their possessions, thanking them for the role they have played in their lives. She
suggests that the used items that one has discarded “will come back to you as the thing that will be of most use to who you are now.”
While Catholics should not take part in practices that do not align with the Catholic faith, this does not mean they need to reject the KonMari Method of tidying altogether, Rapp said. Catholicism
has long understood how to embrace what is good in other cultures, without accepting ideas that are problematic.
Some of Kondo’s ideas can be adapted to a more Catholic worldview, the priest said. For example, rather than thanking a book or piece of clothing for its usefulness, Catholics can offer prayers of
thanks to God, who is the true source of all material blessings.
“Thank you, Lord, for giving me this. It’s been very valuable for my life in these ways. I’m going to let go of it now,” he suggested as a prayer to offer while purging.
Recognizing everything as a blessing from God makes it easier to be detached, he noted. “Because God has given me all of these things, I can let go of them. I can give them away.”
Ultimately, Rapp said, simplicity in possessions is about building gratitude, detachment, and trust.
“If you want to follow Jesus’ way of simplicity, you have to accept that it’s a bit radical, and you have to be willing to detach. I think that’s the big key, this attitude of detachment.”
“You have to sort of trust that ‘I can let go of things, and my needs will be taken care of’,” he said, pointing to the passage in the Sermon on the Mount in which Christ reminds his followers of how
God clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the birds of the air, instructing them to trust that God will also take care of their material needs.
“We as human beings feel a need to provide for ourselves,” Rapp said. “Letting go of things is an invitation to really trust in the Lord, and to celebrate and feel the providence of God, that God
really does provide for us, that God has provided for us in remarkable ways.”
For the Denver Companions, purging physical things is a reminder to reflect on spiritual poverty, which is more important than material poverty.
Rapp said the community undergoes a similar process of seeking to identify excesses or unhealthy attachments in the spiritual life, asking themselves, “What do I cling to? My time, my energy, my
friendships, my talent, my opinions?”
This helps them recognize all of these things as gifts from God, and opportunities to give thanks and practice detachment, fostering spiritual poverty, since God promises his kingdom to the “poor in
“That’s what we’re really looking for,” Rapp said. “We don’t find our peace and happiness in things.”
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