Knights of Columbus Pope John Paul II Council 13808 Greensboro, GA
Knights of ColumbusPope John Paul II Council 13808Greensboro, GA
Historic Catholic center thrives in east Georgia (Thu, 14 Nov 2019)
Catholics looking for a historic and sacred place to renew their faith can discover what is considered “the cradle of Catholic Georgia.” Purification Heritage Center, located some 100 miles east of Atlanta, is serving groups for day retreats that include Mass, walking pilgrimages and lunch. The post Historic Catholic center thrives in east Georgia appeared first on Georgia Bulletin.
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Overcoming obstacles in young adult ministry (Thu, 14 Nov 2019)
This fall, the Office of Formation and Discipleship collaborated with The Georgia Bulletin on a survey for young adults in the Atlanta Archdiocese. Of the more than 700 young adults who participated, 83% attend Mass 3-5 times per week and nearly 65% are involved in parish life including and outside of young adult ministry. The post Overcoming obstacles in young adult ministry appeared first on Georgia Bulletin.
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Bound by shared grief, staff assists families at natural burial grounds (Thu, 14 Nov 2019)
Honey Creek Woodlands in Conyers is a burial ground for those who wish to be buried in the simplicity of a wooden box or a shroud. Graves are marked with discreet sandstone markers. The grounds are owned by the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, which is across Highway 212. The post Bound by shared grief, staff assists families at natural burial grounds appeared first on Georgia Bulletin.
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Cause for canonization continues for Augustus Tolton (Thu, 14 Nov 2019)
The Tolton Ambassadors in Atlanta share the story of Father Augustus Tolton in various ways and raise awareness of his cause. A day of reflection was held Oct. 12 to teach about his life, his cause for canonization and six other candidates of color from the United States for sainthood. The post Cause for canonization continues for Augustus Tolton appeared first on Georgia Bulletin.
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O’Connor and Merton: Two companion books you should know (Thu, 14 Nov 2019)
Before they are lost in the swamp of secondary material related to these two outstanding writers, I want to share with you two out-of-print books—companion pieces—that are indispensable to anyone passionate about Flannery O’Connor and Thomas Merton. The post O’Connor and Merton: Two companion books you should know appeared first on Georgia Bulletin.
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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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 →
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Bishops organize talks in Bolivia as protests become deadly (Mon, 18 Nov 2019)
La Paz, Bolivia 20191118T1359-31872-CNS-BOLIVIA-CHURCH-TALKS.jpg Fr. Jose Fuentes celebrates Mass at Jesus the Worker Church in El Alto, Bolivia, Nov. 17, 2019. Fuentes is part of a committee that is trying to facilitate talks between supporters of former President Evo Morales and allies of the country's new government. (CNS/Manuel Rueda) Bolivian bishops are organizing talks between political factions as protests against the nation's new government become increasingly deadly. Fr. Jose Fuentes, adjunct secretary of the Bolivian bishops' conference, said church leaders – along with the European Union and the Embassy of Spain – are trying to calm tensions by facilitating meetings between allies of the new government and recently ousted President Evo Morales' party, the Movement Toward Socialism. The aim of the talks, Fuentes said, was for both sides to hash out the conditions under which a new election can be held and give Morales' party guarantees that they will be treated fairly. But so far only "basic issues have been discussed" such as creating security measures for Morales allies, and finding safe passage out of the country for those who have sought asylum abroad. "We believe that the best way to resolve our differences is to hold a new election," Fuentes said, before celebrating Mass at the Jesus the Worker Parish in El Alto, just west of La Paz. "A lot of old wounds are surfacing in this crisis, and some leaders are now reigniting those wounds to mobilize people." Fuentes said that in Bolivia's deeply polarized political climate, the church is one of the few institutions that both sides can trust, so it has to take upon the role of promoting dialogue. Morales, who is now in exile in Mexico, has had a difficult relationship with the country's bishops, who opposed his economic policies in the Amazon region. // Advertisement Advertisement "We have a lack of institutions that are accepted by all sides at this moment because, sadly, courts and organizations like the human rights ombudsman were co-opted by the ruling party," Fuentes said. "As the church, we don't have the power to make any decisions" on how the political crisis is solved, he explained. "But at least we can facilitate some talks." Morales resigned Nov. 10 after facing three weeks of intense protests over his reelection to a fourth consecutive term. At least 20 people were killed within a week as Morales supporters clashed with security forces loyal to the caretaker government of Jeanine Anez. The protesters blocked some of the country's main highways and cut supplies of fuel and food to the capital city, La Paz, a move that could lead to further confrontation with the military and police. Some of the protesters fear they will lose social benefits, such as subsidies for the elderly and for pregnant women, gained while Morales was president. Morales cut poverty rates in half during his tenure and gave greater representation to rural and indigenous peoples in the nation's politics. But he also alienated some social groups, including indigenous people in Bolivia's lowlands and in the Amazon region, as he pushed ahead with development projects that had high environmental costs. The ongoing crisis has also hit close to home for Fuentes, whose parish is located in the largely indigenous city of El Alto. Following Morales' resignation, some of the former president's supporters rioted in the city, looting supermarkets and even burning a police station. Hundreds of local residents who were not involved in the protest kept night-watches to protect their properties, building barricades to protect themselves from potential looting, and burning fires on roads and sidewalks to keep warm. The members of the Jesus the Worker Parish had to do the same. "It's been very tense here," said Deacon Ronald Lopez. "We were even hearing rumors on WhatsApp that our school was going to be looted." Fortunately, that did not happen. But the path leading into the church is still covered by ashes from the fires set up by parishioners to keep warm during the worst days of rioting. In his sermons, Fuentes urged his flock to keep away from extremist groups that are trying to stoke racial and social tensions to further their interests. "In life, it is very important for us to decide who we will serve," Fuentes said at Mass Nov. 17. "We can decide to serve God, but we can also make mistakes. Sometimes we can end up putting ourselves at the service of injustice, lies and arrogance."
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Energy-efficient lights to adorn Vatican Christmas tree (Mon, 18 Nov 2019)
Vatican City The Vatican's Christmas tree will be adorned with energy-saving lights, the governing office of Vatican City said. Vatican workers will decorate the tree and use lighting supplied by the German multinational, OSRAM, the governing office said in a press release Nov. 15. The "next generation" lights are meant to have a reduced impact on the environment and use less energy, the office said. The 85-foot-tall spruce tree will come from the high plateaus of the Veneto region in northeast Italy and another 20 smaller trees will be donated by communities in the region's province of Vicenza. About 40 trees will be replanted in an area in the northeast that had been seriously damaged by severe hurricane-like winds and torrential rains in late 2018. The large Nativity scene in St. Peter's Square will be made entirely out of wood and replicate the traditional northern Trentino-style buildings with their wood shingle roofs. At least 20 larger-than-life-size painted wooden figures representing the Holy Family, the Magi, shepherds and animals will animate the scene, which will also include broken tree trunks salvaged from the 2018 storms. A smaller Nativity scene, provided by the northern province of Treviso, will be set up in the Vatican's Paul VI audience hall. It will imitate an old style, with Gothic arches, characteristic of barns and stables in the Lessinia mountain range. A delegation of representatives from the region will meet with the pope Dec. 5, before the tree-lighting ceremony later that afternoon. The tree and Nativity scene will remain in St. Peter's Square until the feast of the Lord's Baptism Jan. 12, the governing office said. // Advertisement Advertisement
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Religious fundamentalism is a 'plague,' pope says (Mon, 18 Nov 2019)
Vatican City 20191118T1114-31850-CNS-POPE-INTERRELIGIOUS-ARGENTINA.jpg Pope Francis greets Fr. Guillermo Marco, Muslim leader Omar Abboud and Rabbi Daniel Goldman, co-presidents of the Argentine Institute for Interreligious Dialogue, Nov. 18, 2019, in the apostolic palace of the Vatican. (CNS/Vatican Media) Interreligious dialogue is an important way to counter fundamentalist groups as well as the unjust accusation that religions sow division, Pope Francis said. Meeting with members of the Argentine Institute for Interreligious Dialogue Nov. 18, the pope said that in "today's precarious world, dialogue among religions is not a weakness. It finds its reason for being in the dialogue of God with humanity." Recalling a scene from the 11th-century poem, "The Song of Roland," in which Christians threatened Muslims "to choose between baptism or death," the pope denounced the fundamentalist mentality which "we cannot accept nor understand and cannot function anymore." "We must beware of fundamentalist groups; each (religion) has their own. In Argentina, there are some fundamentalist corners there," he said. "Fundamentalism is a plague and all religions have some fundamentalist first cousin," he said. According to its website, the Institute for Interreligious Dialogue was founded in Buenos Aires in 2002 and was inspired by then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as a way "to promote understanding among men and women of different religious traditions in our city and the world." The pope welcomed the members of the institute who are in Rome to reflect on the document on "human fraternity" and improving Christian-Muslim relations, which was signed Feb. 4 by Francis and Sheikh Ahmad el-Tayeb, the grand imam of al-Azhar and a leading religious authority for many Sunni Muslims. The intention of the document, the pope explained, was a way to adopt a "culture of dialogue" while respecting each other's unique identity. "This is key: Identity cannot be negotiated because if you negotiate your identity, there is no dialogue, there is submission. Each (religion) with its own identity are on the path" of dialogue," he said. The "complex human reality" of brotherhood, the pope continued, can be seen in scripture when God asks Cain about the whereabouts of his brother. That same question must be asked today and lead members of all religions to reflect on ways of becoming "channels of brotherhood instead of walls of division," he said. To see the dangers of fundamentalism, Christians must also reflect on their own history, he said, including the Thirty Years' War, which began in 1618 as a conflict between Catholic and Protestant states, and the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572, which saw the targeted assassinations of Huguenots by Catholic mobs in France. "A bit of history should frighten us," the pope said. "Whoever doesn't feel frightened from within should ask themselves why." Francis said he hoped that the document on "human fraternity" would be "welcomed by the international community, for the good of the human family who must pass from simple tolerance to true and peaceful coexistence." "It is important to show that we believers are a factor of peace for human societies and in doing so, we will respond to those who unjustly accuse religions of inciting hatred and causing violence," the pope said. // Advertisement Advertisement
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Catholic leaders thank Rodney Reed supporters, pray for justice (Mon, 18 Nov 2019)
Washington 20191108T0714-31776-CNS-DEATH-PENALTY-TEXAS.jpg Texas death-row inmate Rodney Reed is pictured in an undated photo from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Sister Helen Prejean, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, and the Catholic Mobilizing Network have been joined by celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Rihanna, Meek Mill and Kim Kardashian West in urging Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to stop the scheduled Nov. 20, 2019, execution of Reed. (CNS/courtesy Texas Department of Criminal Justice) Five days before the scheduled execution of death-row inmate Rodney Reed – who gained attention of Catholic leaders and celebrities alike – the top criminal appeals court in Texas granted an indefinite stay of his execution and said they were sending his case back to trial court for further review. The late-day decision Nov. 15 by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals came just hours after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles had recommended delaying Reed's death by lethal injection. Catholic leaders who had urged people to speak up about Rodney's case, citing lack of evidence of his guilt, took to social media after the decision was announced thanking people for their support and praying for justice. Sr. Helen Prejean, a Sister of St. Joseph of Medaille, who is a longtime opponent of the death penalty, thanked the "millions of people who signed petitions, made phone calls, wrote letters and advocated" for Rodney Reed, saying in a Nov. 15 tweet that they "helped save an innocent man's life!" Catholic Mobilizing Network, a group that works to stop the death penalty, similarly thanked all who "took action to advocate on Rodney's behalf." And the Texas Catholic Conference in a Nov. 15 tweet thanked those "working and praying for justice" in this case and said they hoped and prayed justice would be served as the case returns to trial court. The morning of Nov. 15, hours before Supreme Court justices met in conference to decide if they would take up Reed's case, his supporters kept vigil on the court steps. They gathered the night before the justices' scheduled conference holding candles and posters saying Reed was innocent. They returned the next morning along with members of a number of faith groups to show support for Reed and to pray for an end to the death penalty in this country. Members of the Catholic Mobilizing Network joined the vigil Nov. 14 and members of Pax Christi USA were part of a prayer service the following morning. Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, executive director of Catholic Mobilizing Network, told Catholic News Service in an email that Reed's case has captured the attention of so many people because there is "a visceral reaction, on a very human level, to situations where an innocent person is about to be executed, especially in a state that has the unfortunate distinction of being notorious for executions." Reed's case has gained attention of celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Rihanna, Meek Mill and Kim Kardashian West, along with Prejean and Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin, Texas, who urged Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to stop Reed's scheduled execution. A group of Texas lawmakers and nearly 3 million petition signers also urged the Abbott not to execute Reed. The basis of their objections is that Reed, who has spent nearly 22 years on death row, could be executed for a crime he possibly didn't commit, pointing to new evidence that could exonerate the 51-year-old convicted in 1996 of raping and killing 19-year-old Stacey Stites. "The issue of wrongful conviction is certainly a primary reason for why Mr. Reed's case has spread so rapidly. But what we also see in this case is the rampant racial bias present in the broken, immoral system of capital punishment," Vaillancourt Murphy said. // Advertisement Advertisement She said Reed's story has "stirred up a collective feeling of outrage in response to the blatant brokenness of our criminal legal system" and she said it has compelled people from all walks of life to urge his life be spared. Prejean has been drawing attention to Reed's case for the past four years on social media and has been particularly strong about it in recent days and weeks and also during the vigil and prayer service. She shared a prayer she wrote on social media Nov. 15 that asked God to bring a "spirit of truth and fairness into the hearts and minds of the justices of the Supreme Court that they may grant true justice, long, long overdue, for our brother Rodney." "Strengthen our spirits," her prayer continued, "to be unwavering as we stand in solidarity with Rodney's family in their quest to save his life from this wrongful death." On the afternoon of Nov. 15, Prejean tweeted that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles had just "unanimously voted to recommend a 120-day reprieve" for Reed. She urged the Texas governor to "follow their recommendation and grant the reprieve immediately." In early November, Vasquez said in a statement: "If the scheduled execution of Mr. Reed proceeds, there is great risk the state of Texas will execute a man who is innocent of this crime while allowing the guilty party to go free." The bishop pointed out that he had joined other state bishops through the Texas Catholic Conference in asking Abbot to grant Reed a stay of execution. He said there were "enough doubts in this case that justice dictates a careful review of the new witness statements and other evidence recently brought forward," he said, referring to recent statements from other witnesses that have implicated Stites' fiance, Jimmy Fennell, in the murder. The Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal group committed to exonerating wrongly convicted people through the use of DNA testing, filed an application for Reed's clemency with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles following the sworn affidavit of a witness who said Fennell confessed to Stites' murder when the two men were in prison together. Other witnesses have come forward with similar statements. Reed's lawyers also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in his case Nov. 5, pointing out that Reed had made a "comprehensive and persuasive showing" of innocence. His lawyers also have said they plan to appeal his case to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The petition about Reed before the Supreme Court asks the judges to consider several questions including: "Does the conviction or execution of a person who is actually innocent of the crime violate the United States Constitution?" Celebrities who have been pleading Reed's case on social media had urged people to sign the petition, which as of midafternoon Nov. 15 had nearly 3 million online signatures.
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Having a friend who is poor will help you get to heaven, pope says (Mon, 18 Nov 2019)
Vatican City 20191117T1418-0500-CNS-PHOTO-POPE-POOR-0106.jpg Pope Francis greets a woman as he arrives to eat lunch with the poor in the Paul VI hall as he marks World Day of the Poor at the Vatican Nov. 17, 2019. (CNS/Paul Haring) The poor are the church's treasure because they give every Christian a chance to "speak the same language as Jesus, that of love," Pope Francis said, celebrating Mass for the World Day of the Poor. "The poor facilitate our access to heaven," the pope said in his homily Nov. 17. "In fact, they open up the treasure that never ages, that which joins earth and heaven and for which life is truly worth living: love." Thousands of poor people and volunteers who assist them joined Francis for the Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. After the liturgy and the recitation of the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square, Francis hosted a luncheon for 1,500 of them while thousands more throughout the city enjoyed a festive meal at soup kitchens, parish halls and seminaries. Served by 50 volunteer waiters in white jackets, the pope and his guests in the Vatican audience hall enjoyed a three-course meal of lasagna, chicken in a mushroom cream sauce with potatoes, followed by dessert, fruit and coffee. To speak Jesus' language, the pope had said in his homily, one must not speak of oneself or follow one's own interests but put the needs of others first. "How many times, even when doing good, the hypocrisy of 'I' reigns: I do good, but so people will think I'm good; I help, but to attract the attention of someone important," Francis said. Instead, he said, the Gospel encourages charity, not hypocrisy; "giving to someone who cannot pay you back, serving without seeking a reward or something in exchange." In order to excel at that, the pope said, each Christian must have at least one friend who is poor. "The poor are precious in the eyes of God," he said, because they know they are not self-sufficient and know they need help. "They remind us that that's how you live the Gospel, like beggars before God." // Advertisement Advertisement "So," the pope said, "instead of being annoyed when they knock on our doors, we can welcome their cry for help as a call to go out of ourselves, to welcome them with the same loving gaze God has for them." "How beautiful it would be if the poor occupied the same place in our hearts that they have in God's heart," Francis said. In the day's Gospel reading from St. Luke, the crowds ask Jesus when the world will end and how they will know. They want immediate answers, but Jesus tells them to persevere in faith. Wanting to know or to have everything right now "is not of God," the pope said. Breathlessly seeking things that will pass takes one's mind off the things that last; "we follow the clouds that pass and lose sight of the sky." Worse, he said, "attracted by the latest ruckus, we no longer find time for God and for our brother or sister living alongside us." "This is so true today!" the pope said. "In yearning to run, to conquer everything and do it immediately, those who lag behind annoy us. And they are judged as disposable. How many elderly people, how many unborn babies, how many persons with disabilities and poor people are judged useless. One rushes ahead without worrying that the distances are increasing, that the lust of a few increases the poverty of many." The pope's celebration of the World Day of the Poor concluded a week of special events and services for the homeless, the poor and immigrants in Rome. The poor served by the city's Catholic soup kitchens and Vatican charities were invited Nov. 9 to a free concert in the Vatican audience hall featuring Nicola Piovani, the Oscar-winning composer, and the Italian Cinema Orchestra. From Nov. 10-17 dozens of physicians, nurses and other volunteers staffed a large medical clinic set up in St. Peter's Square. The clinic offered flu shots, physical exams, routine lab tests and many specialty services often needed by people who live and sleep on the streets, including podiatry, diabetes and cardiology. As rain beat down on the square Nov. 15, Francis paid a surprise visit to the clinic and spent about an hour visiting with the clients and volunteers. Afterward, the pope went across the street to inaugurate a new shelter, day center and soup kitchen for the poor in the Palazzo Migliori, a four-story, Vatican-owned building that had housed a community of women religious. When the community moved out, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, began renovating it. The building now can accommodate 50 overnight guests as well as offering a drop-in center for the poor and housing a large commercial kitchen. Meals will be served at the building, but also will be cooked there for distribution to the homeless who live around two Rome train stations. The Community of Sant'Edigio, a Rome-based lay movement that already runs soup kitchens and a variety of programs for the city's poor, will manage and staff the shelter.
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CNA Daily News - US

Democratic AG group wrong to shun pro-life candidates, critics say (Tue, 19 Nov 2019)
Washington D.C., Nov 19, 2019 / 03:00 am (CNA).- Pro-life Democrats and some election-minded politicos have faulted the decision of a Democratic state attorneys general organization to support only declared pro-abortion rights candidates. The Democratic Attorneys General Association will require candidates to make a public pro-abortion statement if they want to receive backing from the group, the association announced. The association recruits candidates and provides financial support, data analysis, messaging work and policy position development. Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, pointed to the victory of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a pro-life Democrat, who won reelection by about 40,000 votes on Nov. 16. Given his recent victory, Day told CNA, “it is clearly the wrong direction for the Democratic Attorney Generals Association to impose an abortion litmus test on democratic candidates. This is particularly concerning for a party that prides itself on diversity and inclusion.” “Governor Edwards did not run from his pro-life position, he embraced it and was proud to promote a whole life agenda to protect and support life from womb to tomb,” Day continued. “This was a source of strength for his campaign. An abortion-rights candidate would have lost. Imposing a litmus test on candidates would force one-third of Democrats, who oppose abortion, out of the party and lessen the opportunity for Democratic gains.” “We encourage [the Democratic Attorneys General Association] to reconsider this shortsighted and discriminatory policy and embrace a big tent policy of inclusion,” she said. New York Attorney General Letitia James discussed the new requirement in a Nov. 17 video for the group. “Attorneys general are on the front lines of the fight for reproductive freedom,” James said. “They have the power to protect your rights.” Jim Hood, Attorney General of Mississippi, is the only Democratic attorney general to describe himself as a pro-life Democrat. There are 27 Democrats holding this office across the U.S. Former U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, a two-term Democratic attorney general who lost her 2018 Senate re-election bid in a strongly Republican state, told the New York Times she thought the new policy was “wrongheaded.” “There are very principled people, who are Democrats, who feel very strongly about this issue for religious reasons and when you say you’re not welcome in our party I think it is exclusionary,” she said. “You have to look at the totality of a candidate.” She too cited the victory of Gov. Edwards of Louisiana. Edwards campaigned on issues including his opposition to abortion and his support for a state law barring abortion when the unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum of Oregon, a co-chair of the Democratic Attorneys General Association’s executive committee, voiced hope that other Democratic committees would follow the group’s example of exclusive support for pro-abortion candidates. “We are going to be the ones to be right out in front and hopefully the other committees will follow right along,” she told the New York Times. The Democratic Attorneys General Association policy change had been under consideration for three years. Officials with the group said the new rule will attract more diverse candidates and increase the number of women who run for attorney general. In 2017 the association pledged to ensure at least half of the party’s attorneys general will be women by 2022. Sean Rankin, executive director of the association, contended the new requirement will increase “the size of the tent.” “Even in states like Georgia, Texas and Arizona, we’ve run pro-choice candidates who’ve done extraordinarily well,” he told the New York Times. While Democratic political candidates used to speak frequently of their support for legal abortion with the caveat that it should be “safe, legal and rare,” recent years have witnessed a strong turn within the party against any abortion restrictions. Democratic presidential primary candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has renounced his support for the Hyde Amendment, which bars most taxpayer-financed Medicaid funds for abortion. In January a Virginia legislator put forward one of the most radical abortion bills in the country that would have removed most restrictions on second and third trimester abortions, including when the mother was in labor. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, explaining the bill on the regional radio station WTOP, said that under the legislation, a baby that survived a botched abortion would be made “comfortable” while the mother and doctor discuss whether or not the baby would be allowed to survive. He sparked a national uproar over his comments. A New York law just signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo bars employers from enforcing certain codes of conduct or belief in the workplace with regard to “reproductive rights,” and requires them to inform employees of their right to abortions without fear of any workplace retaliatory action. Several plaintiffs have challenged the law, saying it singles out pro-life and religious employers by refusing to exempt them. It forces these organizations to employ people who may have publicly defied the mission of an organization, such as a church employee who publicly opposes the teachings of that church on abortion or marriage. Cuomo has also signed a law requiring contraceptive and abortifacient coverage in employee health plans and a law strengthening legal abortion in the event federal legal precedent is overturned or modified. In October, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a measure requiring public universities to provide free access to drug-induced abortions for students and free abortion counseling services.
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Kansas Catholic Conference says Medicaid expansion needs pro-life revisions (Tue, 19 Nov 2019)
Topeka, Kansas, Nov 19, 2019 / 12:17 am (CNA).- As Kansas considers expanding its Medicaid program, the state’s Catholic Conference said its support is contingent upon the establishment of pro-life safeguards. Last week, the Special Committee on Medicaid Expansion - a joint House and Senate panel - held two days of hearings discussing an expansion of KanCare. Chuck Weber, executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference, said in his Nov. 12 testimony that the conference cannot support the legislation unless it explicitly excludes the expansion of abortion coverage, includes conscience protections for healthcare organizations and individuals, and a state constitutional amendment is enacted to clarify that abortion is not a natural right. There are currently an estimated 400,000 people enrolled in Medicaid in Kansas. The Medicaid expansion bill would extend eligibility to an additional 130,000 low-income adults and children, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports. April Holman, executive director of Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, a coalition supporting the expansion, said there is an insurance gap where people cannot afford private health insurance but make too much money to qualify for Medicaid. Weber said the current healthcare system needs to be revised, noting that hospital emergency rooms are required to accept all patients, and therefore become the primary healthcare access point for many uninsured people, which raises costs for everyone. Even for those with health insurance, he said,  rapidly rising deductibles may lead to “crushing debt.” But while the system needs to be updated, Weber said the proposal for Medicaid expansion presents “scientific and ethical” concerns. The Kansas Catholic Conference will not support a Medicaid expansion proposal unless it clearly excludes expanding abortion coverage and includes conscience protections for healthcare institutions and professionals, he said. In addition, the conference believes Kansas must adopt a state constitutional amendment clarifying that abortion is not a “natural right.” The conference believes this is necessary due to the Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt ruling earlier this year, in which the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that abortion is a “natural right.” Weber said the ruling established a right to “virtually unlimited abortion” and used radical language that may provide a legal gateway into physician-assisted suicide and irreversible gender transition procedures. “This ruling raises the specter of publicly funded surgical and chemical abortion,” he said. “The medical community, not an unfettered and unregulated abortion industry, best provides authentic healthcare for vulnerable women and babies.” During the hearing, the special committee approved a motion by Rep. Will Carpenter (R-El Dorado) to enable health care providers to decline treatments for reasons of conscience, and stating that the proposed expansion of Medicaid would not broaden abortion access, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.  
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Washington DC drops bill to legalize sex trade (Mon, 18 Nov 2019)
Washington D.C., Nov 18, 2019 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- A bill to legalize the buying and selling of sex in Washington, DC, will not move forward after widespread opposition and concern that the bill lacked enough support of the city council to be passed.  The Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019 (B23-0318) would have made the capital the first city in the United States to fully legalize prostitution.  Councilman David Grosso (I-At Large), who authored the bill, said that he knew it would be an “uphill battle” to become law in D.C., but that he has not given up the issue. The Washington Post reported that Grosso thinks the bill should instead be placed on the ballot in the district and voted on by city residents.  On November 1, Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who leads the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, which hosted a hearing on the bill, told local media WAMU9 that the council would not vote on B23-0318 this year.  “There were incredibly sharp divisions about what the path forward would look like,” said Allen. “It did not seem to be consensus at all, and I don’t hear the support from my colleagues.” Despite the lack of further action on the bill, Allen said that he thought it had sparked a “very important conversation” that had given “a lot of voice to a community that is already very marginalized.”  On October 17, D.C. Council held a 14-hour hearing that included passionate testimony from people on both sides of the issue. Testifying against passing the bill included the Archdiocese of Washington, former sex workers, and Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office.  The American Civil Liberties Union and current sex workers in DC were among the many who testified in favor of the bill’s passage.  Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) reported that the majority of the feedback his office had received about the bill was negative. He rejected claims that he had somehow rigged the DC Council to be against the legalization of prostitution.  Mendelson said the controversy over B23-0318 was “unusually large” and that it is very rare for a hearing to stretch 14 hours with many people opposed to the bill. “We will continue to look for ways to best serve the interest of victims,” said Mendelson. “Addressing the issue of prostitution again in this form seems unlikely.”
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Venerable Fulton Sheen to be beatified in December (Mon, 18 Nov 2019)
Peoria, Ill., Nov 18, 2019 / 02:42 pm (CNA).- The Diocese of Peoria announced Monday that Venerable Fulton Sheen will be beatified Dec. 21 at the city's Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception. Sheen had been ordained a priest of the diocese in that cathedral Sept. 20, 1919. “It seems entirely fitting that the Beatification will take place at the end of this 100-year anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood,” the Peoria diocese stated Nov. 18. Sheen was born in Illinois in 1895, and was 24 when he was ordained a priest. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of New York in 1951, and he remained there until his appointment as Bishop of Rochester in 1966. He retired in 1969 and moved back to New York City until his death in 1979. Sheen was a beloved television catechist during the 1950s and '60s in the United States. His television show “Life is Worth Living” reached an audience of millions. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints promulgated a decree July 6 recognizing a miracle attributed to Sheen's intercession, which allowed for his beatification. The miracle involves the unexplained recovery of James Fulton Engstrom, a boy born apparently stillborn in September 2010 to Bonnie and Travis Engstrom of the Peoria-area town of Goodfield. He showed no signs of life as medical professionals tried to revive him. The child’s mother and father prayed to Archbishop Sheen to heal their son. The Peoria diocese opened the cause for Sheen’s canonization in 2002, after Archdiocese of New York said it would not explore the case. In 2012, Benedict XVI recognized the heroic virtues of the archbishop. The beatification follows legal battles in civil courts over the location of Sheen's body. His corpse was transferred to the Peoria cathedral June 27 after a protracted series of suits. Sheen’s will had declared his wish to be buried in the Archdiocese of New York Calvary Cemetery. Soon after Sheen died, Cardinal Terence Cooke of New York asked Joan Sheen Cunningham, Sheen’s niece and closest living relative, if his remains could be placed in the crypt of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, and she consented. In September 2014, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria suspended Sheen’s cause on the grounds that the Holy See expected Sheen’s remains to be in the Peoria diocese. Cunningham has since said that Sheen would have wanted to have been interred in Peoria if he knew that he would be considered for sainthood. In 2016, she filed a legal complaint seeking to have her uncle’s remains moved to the Peoria cathedral.
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Our Lady unites the divided into the faithful, Cordileone says (Mon, 18 Nov 2019)
Washington D.C., Nov 18, 2019 / 02:30 pm (CNA).- Mary unites all of God’s children, sparking conversions among those of different faiths, said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco on Saturday, Nov. 16. The archbishop pointed to Mary as a force for conversion and unity among different peoples at the first-ever Mass of the Americas in the Extraordinary Form, held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.  “This Mass we celebrate today, the ‘Mass of the Americas,’ speaks profoundly to the power of our Mother to unite her children,” said Cordileone in his homily. “She stands there in every generation of the Church, interceding to her Son for her children, actively leading them to him, united as one in him.”  The Mass of the Americas is a “twinned tribute” to both Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. It was commissioned by the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship, and was first celebrated Dec. 8, 2018, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Since its debut, it has gone on a “Marian unity tour” throughout North America, which included a stop in Washington, DC.  The Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship’s website states that it is an organization dedicated to “open[ing] the door of Beauty to God” through providing resources for “more beautiful and reverent liturgies” as well as “energizing a Catholic culture of the arts.”  It was no accident that Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared as a mixed-race woman who could appeal both to native Mexicans and the Spanish settlers, and that her image resulted in the conversion of an entire country, explained Cordileone.  “She appeared at a time of great conflict, turbulence and bloodshed, to form a new Christian people for her Son, not by the sword nor by human sacrifice, but by the love of a mother who identifies herself with her children,” he said.  “After [the apparition] Mexico became Catholic: Our Lady of Guadalupe unites the Old World and the New, and so a new Christian people is formed from the two, a mestizo people; a new Christian civilization is born from the union brought about by her who is venerated as both la Morenita and la Inmaculada,” the archbishop said. Cordileone also spoke about how the Church is open to all, regardless of their material worth, and that it is a chance for people to satisfy the innate human hunger for beauty. The archbishop pointed to the Extraordinary Form liturgy, music, and vestments as a form of assisting humanity in their desire for beautiful things.  “Perhaps what the poor most lack in their lives is beauty: being dignified by that beauty which ennobles and elevates the soul, assuring them of their equal dignity as a fellow child of God whom God created in His image and likeness,” said Cordileone.  Poverty, said the archbishop, is not just limited to a lack of material goods. “There is also spiritual poverty, a poverty of the soul. The absence of beauty and prevalence of the ugly eventually corrupts a soul, leading to spiritual misery,” he said. Evidence of this spiritual poverty is found in increasing rates of depression, “irrational intolerance” of people with differing views, and predation of the less fortunate, he said. Despite living in the United States, “the most affluent society in the history of the world,” America is still overrun with “Anger, division, injustice and depression.”  The Church’s three transcendentals of beauty, truth, and goodness are one way to combat this divide. “We are happy to come together today to offer something beautiful to God and to express our love for the Mother of His Son: we give our best, because we are motivated by love, which settles for nothing less,” he said.  “And here our Blessed Mother is once again uniting us: the poor with the well-to-do and the in between, from every nation, race, people and tongue.”
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