By WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Saying there
is an "urgent need" to address "the sin of racism" in the
country and find solutions to it, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has established
a new Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism and named one of the country's
African-American Catholic bishops to chair it.
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of
Galveston-Houston, USCCB president, initiated the committee Aug. 23 "to
focus on addressing the sin of racism in our society, and even in our church,
and the urgent need to come together as a society to find solutions."
He appointed Bishop George V.
Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Catholic Education,
to chair the new ad hoc committee.
"Recent events have exposed the
extent to which the sin of racism continues to inflict our nation,"
Cardinal DiNardo said in a statement. "The establishment of this new ad
hoc committee will be wholly dedicated to engaging the church and our society
to work together in unity to challenge the sin of racism, to listen to persons
who are suffering under this sin, and to come together in the love of Christ to
know one another as brothers and sisters."
The naming of members to serve
on the new body will be finalized in coming days, the USCCB said in an
announcement. It added that the committee's mandate "will be confirmed at
the first meeting, expected very shortly."
"I look forward to working with
my brother bishops as well as communities across the United States to listen to
the needs of individuals who have suffered under the sin of racism and together
find solutions to this epidemic of hate that has plagued our nation for far too
long," Bishop Murry said in a statement.
"Through Jesus' example of love
and mercy, we are called to be a better people than what we have witnessed over
the past weeks and months as a nation. Through listening, prayer and meaningful
collaboration, I'm hopeful we can find lasting solutions and common ground
where racism will no longer find a place in our hearts or in our society."
The new ad hoc committee also
will "welcome and support" implementation of the U.S. bishops' new
pastoral letter on racism, expected to be released in 2018. In 1979, the
bishops issued a pastoral in racism titled "Brothers and Sisters to Us," in which they addressed many
themes, but the overall message then as today was "racism is a sin."
Creation of a new formal body
that is part of the USCCB -- formed on the USCCB Executive Committee's "unanimous
recommendation" -- speaks to how serious the U.S. Catholic Church leaders take
the problem of racism in America today.
It is the first ad hoc
committee the bishops have established since instituting the Ad Hoc Committee
for Religious Liberty in 2011 to address growing concerns over the erosion of
freedom of religion in America. The federal governments mandate that all
employers, including religious employers provide health care coverage of
artificial contraceptives and abortifacients was one of the key issues that
prompted formation of the committee.
Chaired by Baltimore Archbishop
William E. Lori, that body was elevated to full USCCB committee status during
the bishops' spring assembly in Indianapolis this past June.
In addition to the
Executive Committee's recommendation, the USCCB said, the decision to initiate
the new Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism also was made in consultation with
members of the USCCB's Committee on Priorities and Plans.
The formation of the ad
hoc committee also follows the conclusion of the work of the Peace in Our
Communities Task Force. The task force was formed in July 2016 by then-Archbishop
Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, who was then USCCB president. He
initiated it in response to racially related shootings in Baton Rouge,
Louisiana, as well as in Minneapolis and Dallas.
To head it he named Archbishop
Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta, one of the nation's African-American prelates who
was the first black Catholic bishop to be president of the USCCB (2001-2004).
The task force's mandate was to explore
ways of promoting peace and healing around the country. Archbishop Kurtz also
wanted the bishops to look for ways they could help the suffering communities,
as well as police affected by the incidents.
On Nov. 14, 2016, during the USCCB's
fall general assembly, Archbishop Gregory told the bishops to issue, sooner
rather than later, a document on racism.
"A statement from
the full body of bishops on racism is increasingly important at this
time," said the archbishop in reporting on the work of the task force.
He said the president of
the bishops' conference and relevant committees need to "identify
opportunities for a shorter-term statement on these issues, particularly in the
context of the postelection uncertainty and disaffection."
He also urged prayer,
ecumenical and interfaith collaboration, dialogue, parish-based and diocesan
conversations and training, as well as opportunities for encounter.The bishops' 1979 pastoral, now
in its 19th printing, declared: "Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human
family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and
violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the
same Father."- - -Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGE: CNS photo/Ed Langlois, Catholic SentinelBy Ed LangloisST. PAUL, Ore. (CNS) -- Hundreds
of solar eclipse viewers Aug. 21 watched the sky grow dim and then witnessed
the spectacular dancing white corona of the sun's edge from alongside Oregon's
oldest Catholic church.
Built in 1846, St. Paul Church
in the small town of St. Paul was already venerable the last time it was in an
eclipse path of totality in 1918. The brick building, restored after a 1993
earthquake, stood silent and strong Aug. 21 as the crowd around it cheered and
cried out during the eerie minute that the moon blotted out the sun's light.
"God puts on the best shows!"
one woman called out.
While the heavens were creating
awe, Msgr. Gregory Moys was providing for creature comforts of visitors. Some
towns in the eclipse zone provided portable bathrooms, but that was a bit much
for the city of St. Paul to afford. Msgr. Moys, pastor of St. Paul Parish,
opened up the back door of the 171-year house of worship so viewers could find
relief in a set of rooms once used by Oregon's pioneer priests.
One Vancouver, Washington,
family made the trip and sat happily in front of St. Paul Church.
"It's a memory they'll have for
a long time," James Longfellow said of his wife and children. Longfellow's 8-year-old
daughter, Analise, feared she might forget. Her parents assured her she'd
Pete Hamlin, a member of St.
Matthew Church in Hillsboro, recalled trying to watch a 1979 eclipse as a child,
but the Oregon skies were cloudy.
"This is a good opportunity," Hamlin
told the Catholic Sentinel, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Portland. He came
to St. Paul with friends Greg Clemmons and John Hedlund.
While the solar event was
stunning, the trio spent much of their time before looking over the old brick
church and discovering its history.
The edifice replaced a log
church that had been built in 1836 by settlers who had written Catholic
officials in the East repeatedly before two missionaries were sent from Quebec --
Fathers Francis Blanchet and Modeste Demers. Native American workers helped make
the bricks that are still in good shape.
On April 25, 1846, a month
before the cornerstone was laid, a partial solar eclipse was visible in St.
- - -
Langlois is managing editor of
the Catholic Sentinel, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Portland.- - -Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Jonathan LuxmooreWARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- A Polish
archbishop who inspected Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine for the pope predicted
the Vatican will soon recognize its Marian apparitions.
"The Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith has passed all documentation to the Secretariat of State --
everything suggests the apparitions will be accepted before the year
ends," said Archbishop Henryk Hoser.
"It's difficult to believe
the six visionaries have been lying for 36 years," the archbishop said. "What they say is coherent,
and none is mentally disturbed, while the apparitions' faithfulness to church
doctrine is also a powerful argument for their authenticity."
The archbishop spoke as he
completed a report from his spring mission to the hilltop shrine, which has not
been officially recognized by the church despite 2.5 million pilgrims annually.
He told Poland's Catholic Information
Agency, KAI, he had found an "exceptional atmosphere" of
"spiritual creativeness" at Medjugorje, characterized by
"prayer, silence, meditation, Eucharist, adoration, fasting and reconciliation."
He added that the shrine was
seeing "huge dynamic growth," in contrast to older sanctuaries in Portugal, France and Poland and had succeeded in remaining "a true
place for pilgrims" while "eliminating tourist elements."
"Everything is moving in
a good direction. My mission wasn't aimed at closing Medjugorje down, but at
evaluating whether pastoral work is being properly organized there in line with
church teaching," Archbishop Hoser said.
"My conclusions are that it
is, and my impression is highly positive," he told KAI.
Six teenagers claim to have seen
the Virgin Mary June 24, 1981, near Medjugorje. Since then,
they have reported more than 42,000 apparitions at the site, which was largely
untouched by the 1992-95 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In April, the then-prefect of
the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Muller, told KAI ageny it still could "take a long time" for the Vatican to rule
on the apparitions, despite Archbishop Hoser's pastoral visitation.
Bishop Ratko Peric of
Mostar-Duvno, the local ordinary, has consistently dismissed the Medjugorje
apparitions as false, like his predecessor, Bishop Pavao Zanic, and appealed to
bishops abroad not to support pilgrimages there.
However, in March, Cardinal
Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, defended the shrine as
"Europe's largest confessional," and said he counted on the Vatican to
appreciate its evangelical potential in generating "conversions and acts
of grace."Pope Francis told reporters traveling with him from Fatima,
Portugal, in May that the most important fact about Medjugorje is "the
spiritual fact, the pastoral fact" that thousands of pilgrims go to
Medjugorje and are converted. "For this there is no magic wand; this
spiritual-pastoral fact cannot be denied."
The spiritual fruits of the pilgrimages, he said, are the
reason why in February he appointed Archbishop Hoser to study the best ways to
provide pastoral care to townspeople and the pilgrims.
Speaking to reporters May 13, Pope Francis gave no
indication of when a final pronouncement about the alleged apparitions would be
made. However, the said that a commission set up by then-Pope Benedict XVI had
spent years investigating the phenomenon and tended to believe the apparitions
in that first week of the summer of 1981 may have been real, but the continued
reports of apparitions are questionable.
Furthermore, Pope Francis told the press, "personally,
I am more 'mischievous.' I prefer Our Lady to be a mother, our mother, and not
a telegraph operator who sends out a message every day at a certain time --
this is not the mother of Jesus."
- - -Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By ROME (CNS) -- One of the two women who died when an
earthquake struck the Italian island of Ischia was killed by falling debris
from a 19th-century church. The other died in her home, which was destroyed by
the quake Aug. 21.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake, which struck at
8:57 p.m. local time, measured a magnitude of 4.3. Ischia is located off the
coast of Naples.
As of late Aug. 22, Italian authorities had not released the
names of the two women who died. The Italian bishops' television station,
TV2000, said the destroyed church was Santa Maria dei Suffragio, more commonly
known as the "Purgatory Church." The church in the village of
Casamicciola was built in the 19th century after a quake in 1883 destroyed the
previous church on the site.
Much of the international news coverage of the quake focused
on the rescue of three children, brothers, who were buried under the rubble. The
first of the brothers to be rescued, seven hours after the quake, was
7-month-old Pasquale. The next morning, rescuers were able to free 7-year-old
Mattias. Ciro, 11, was freed 16 hours after the quake. All of the brothers are
expected to make a full recovery.
The local hospital originally treated 39 other people for
quake-related injuries. One person remained in serious condition, although most
of the others were treated and released.- - -Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Although he said planning a papal trip
to Russia was not on the agenda, the Vatican secretary of state said his visit
to Moscow was designed to build on the meeting Pope Francis and Russian
Orthodox Patriarch Kirill had in Cuba in 2016.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the secretary of state, was
visiting Moscow Aug. 21-24 and was scheduled to meet with the patriarch and
Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as with leaders of Russia's Catholic
The list of topics for the meetings ranged from ecumenical
dialogue and interreligious cooperation to current world affairs and climate
change, he said in a series of interviews before leaving Rome.
After a long morning meeting Aug. 22, the cardinal and Russian
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a brief news conference, telling reporters
they had discussed ongoing conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, the Holy Land
Cardinal Parolin said his meetings with government officials
were designed to share "Pope Francis' interest in bilateral relations
between the Holy See and the Russian Federation as well as his concerns in the
sphere of international affairs."
"Obviously," the cardinal said, "the meeting
offered an occasion to discuss some concrete questions regarding the life of
the Catholic Church in the Russian Federation, including the difficulties that
remain in obtaining work permits for non-Russian religious personnel and the
restitution of some churches, which are needed for the pastoral care of
Catholics in the country." Many church buildings were confiscated by the
former Soviet government and never returned.
Regarding international affairs, Cardinal Parolin said he and
Lavrov discussed several ongoing conflicts, including the war in Eastern
Ukraine and the war in Syria.
In situations of war, he said, the Catholic Church often is
directly involved in promoting humanitarian aid for the victims, but it also
works on a diplomatic level to promote a negotiated peace with guarantees of
"justice, legality, truth" and the safety of civilians.
The Russian foreign ministry posted online the first minutes
of the working meeting between Cardinal Parolin and Lavrov.
The foreign minister told the cardinal, "We see that
our positions are close on a number of current issues, including the peaceful
settlement of crises, fighting terrorism and extremism, promoting the dialogue
among religions and civilizations and strengthening social justice and the role
of the family."
And, he said, it is important that the strengthening of Vatican-Russian
relations is "complemented by the dialogue between religions, which was
launched during the historical meeting between Patriarch Kirill and Pope
Francis in Cuba."
Cardinal Parolin began his visit to Russia with a meeting
with Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of external relations for the
Russian Orthodox Church.
After the meeting, he told reporters their time together was
very constructive, and that even though there are "thorny issues,"
there also is a great desire to overcome them. As an example of an ongoing
difficulty, Cardinal Parolin said the existence of the Ukrainian Catholic
Church "remains for the Russian Orthodox Church an obstacle."
In the evening Aug. 21, Cardinal Parolin presided over a
Mass for Moscow's Catholics in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Before Mass, he had met with the country's Catholic bishops.- - -Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.