By Carol ZimmermannWASHINGTON (CNS) -- Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the papal nuncio to the
United States, gets plenty of questions about Pope Francis.A March 27 discussion at
Georgetown University, sponsored by the university's Initiative on Catholic
Social Thought and Public Life, was no exception. The nuncio, who sat onstage
with John Carr, the initiative's director, was asked about the pope's key
issues and his impact in the four years since his election.
Instead of emphasizing the pope's
special qualities or accomplishments, Archbishop Pierre, who has been in the
Vatican diplomatic corps for almost 40 years, stressed how Catholics are called
to view the pope and essentially work with him in the mission of spreading the
He told the audience, nearly
filling a campus auditorium, that it is not a question of whether the pope is
good or bad or if one agrees with him or not. The issue, for Catholics, is to
discern what the Holy Spirit is saying through the pope.
"We have to pay a lot of
attention to the person of the pope and to his message and to his testimony because
the pope is not just words but he is also actions and actions that are powerful words," the
Archbishop Pierre, who was
appointed to the U.S. post by Pope Francis last April, would not comment on the
pope's approval ratings compared to politicians nor would he address the current
political climate, but he stressed that one's personal faith can't be separated
from daily life and that people need to use discernment even in civic duties
When asked about care for
migrants in today's world, he said Christians should be the "soul of this
country" and Catholics should
follow the example of Pope Francis who goes out to the borders and reaches out
to those who are broken and those who suffer.
church is in the business of evangelization," he added, saying this works
best when the church "goes outside herself" to meet people where they
are. And in a pointed statement to this country, he added: If America is the
center of the world then it has "a huge responsibility to help others."
the nuncio was joined on stage by other panelists, they reiterated the importance
of the pope's message that has come across just as much from his actions as
sum up the pope's message to Catholics today, Ken Hackett, former U.S.
ambassador to the Holy See and former president and CEO of Catholic Relief
Services, looks to the example of the pope's visit to the United States in 2015
where the pope's presence, in front of Congress and with the poor, and his
words at each stop made Catholics proud of their faith.
Daniels, a member of the Vatican's Secretariat for Communications, said the
pope's message has resonated not just with Catholics but also with those who have
heard him even through social media. She said he has made the call to live
out one's faith "something that's concrete and not abstract" and
something "we can do right here, right now, where we are."
Maria Teresa Gaston, managing director of the Foundations of Christian
Leadership Program at the Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina, the
pope has been clearest on his message of community, telling people, including
"those who are undocumented: You are loved and valued."
also points to his message to youths at World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013 as
something that still resonates with her. He told the crowd "not to be
afraid, to take risks and to be courageous" stressing they should prepare for
"courageous and prophetic action in solidarity with the earth and with the
- - -
Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim.- - -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/Edgard Garrido, ReutersBy David AgrenCUERNAVACA, Mexico (CNS) -- An editorial in a publication of the Archdiocese of Mexico City condemned Mexican companies wishing to work on the proposed wall being built on the U.S.-Mexico border as "traitors."
"What's regrettable is that on this side of the
border, there are Mexicans ready to collaborate with a fanatical project that annihilates
the good relationship between two nations that share a common border," said the March 26 editorial in the archdiocesan publication Desde la Fe.
"Any company that plans to invest in the
fanatic Trump's wall would be
immoral, but above all, their shareholders and owner will be considered
traitors to the homeland," the editorial continued. "Joining
a project that is a grave affront to dignity is like shooting yourself in the
President Donald Trump ran on a promise of
constructing a wall between the United States and Mexico and has signed an
executive order to begin building the barrier on the nearly 2,000-mile
The Mexican government has repeatedly said it will not
pay for any border wall. Security analysts say illegal merchandise mostly
crosses through legal ports of entry and express doubts a wall would keep out
drugs, as Trump insists. Catholics who work with migrants transiting the
country en route to the United States express doubts, too, saying those
crossing the frontier illegally mostly do so with the help of human smugglers,
who presumably pay bribes on both sides of the border.
Some Mexican companies have mused about working on the
wall, though others such as Cemex -- whose share prices surged on speculation
it would provide cement for the wall -- told the Los Angeles Times that it would not
participate in the building of a border barrier.
Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray Caso has urged
company officials to use their conscience when considering work on the wall, though
the archdiocesan editorial said, "What is most surprising is the timidity of the Mexican government's economic
authorities, who have not moved firmly against these companies."
Desde la Fe has previously blasted Trump's proposed policies. In September
2015, it called Trump "ignorant" and a "clown" and blasted
Mexican government passivity in defending its migrants as "unpardonable."
Father Hugo Valdemar, Archdiocese of Mexico City spokesman, told
Catholic News Service some conservative Catholics in Mexico viewed Trump's
positions on pro-life issues favorably and were still angry the U.S. ambassador
to Mexico marched in the annual pride parade. But he said he knew of no one in
Mexico that openly supported the U.S. president.
"What we see from him is an authentic threat and an unstable
person," Father Valdemar said.- - -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 photo/Rick Bajornas, UNBy Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Today's
threats to global peace and security must be countered through dialogue and
development, not nuclear weapons, Pope Francis told the United Nations.
"How sustainable is a
stability based on fear, when it actually increases fear and undermines
relationships of trust between peoples," the pope asked in a letter sent
to a U.N. meeting on nuclear arms.
"International peace and
stability cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual
destruction or total annihilation, or on simply maintaining a balance of power,"
he said in the message, released by the Vatican March 28. The message was read
aloud at the U.N. by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, Vatican undersecretary for relations with states.
The pope's message was sent to Elayne
Whyte Gomez, president of the U.N. Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument
to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards Their Total Elimination. The
conference was being held at the U.N. headquarters in New York March 27-31,
with a follow-up meeting June 15-July 7.
A number of nations -- many of
which already possess nuclear arms -- were boycotting the negotiations to ban
such weapons. These included the United States, France, the United Kingdom and
about 40 other nations. Some continue to support the Non-Proliferation Treaty
to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told
reporters in New York March 28 that it was the responsibility of leaders to
keep their nations safe.
"There is nothing I want
more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons. But we have to be
realistic," Haley said.
"In this day and time, we
can't honestly say that we can protect our people by allowing the bad actors to
have them and those of us that are good, trying to keep peace and safety, not
to have them," she said.
However, Pope Francis said in
his message that the strategy of nuclear deterrence was not an effective response
to today's threats to peace and security: terrorism, cybersecurity,
environmental problems and poverty.
"Peace must be built on
justice, on integral human development, on respect for fundamental human
rights, on the protection of creation, on the participation of all in public
life, on trust between peoples, on the support of peaceful institutions, on
access to education and health, on dialogue and solidarity," he said.
The world needs "to adopt
forward-looking strategies to promote the goal of peace and stability and to
avoid short-sighted approaches to the problems surrounding national and
international security," he said.
The complete elimination of
nuclear weapons is "a moral and humanitarian imperative" that should
prompt people to reflect on "an ethics of peace and multilateral and
cooperative security that goes beyond the fear and isolationism that prevail in
many debates today."
Making a total global ban
possible will demand more dialogue, trust and cooperation. "This trust can
be built only through dialogue that is truly directed to the common good and
not to the protection of veiled or particular interests," he added.
Humanity has the ability,
freedom and intelligence to work together to "lead and direct technology,
to place limits on our power, and to put all this at the service of another
type of progress: one that is more human, social and integral," he said.
- - -
Follow Glatz on Twitter:
@CarolGlatz.- - -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 Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- People should stop blaming and complaining so they can be filled with God's joy and rise up to life's challenges, Pope Francis
Forgetting what joy is and languishing in self-pity come
with the sin of sloth, the pope said March 28 in his homily during morning Mass
at Domus Sanctae Marthae.
"It's a terrible disease: 'Well, I'm comfortable as
is, I've gotten used to it. Life, of course, has been unfair to me.' You see
resentment, bitterness in that heart," he said.
The pope's homily was a reflection on the Gospel of St. John reading in which Jesus heals a lame man at the pool of Bethesda.
A large number of people who were ill, blind or crippled
gathered at the pool because it was believed if a person immersed himself just when the
waters were stirred by an angel, he would be healed. Jesus saw a lame man, who
had been waiting by the poolside for 38 years, and asked him, "Do you want
to be well?"
Pope Francis said, "This is beautiful; Jesus always
asks us this: Do you want to be healed? Do you want to be happy? Do you want to
make your life better? Do you want to be filled with the Holy Spirit?"
If Jesus had asked any of the other people there desperate
for help, the pope said, "they would have said, 'Yes, Lord, yes.' But this
was a strange man" because instead he started complaining about how he had
no one to help him into the water and everyone else always managed to get in
The man is like a tree planted near streams of water, but he cannot grow and prosper because his roots are dried up, "those roots
don't reach the water, he couldn't take in the well-being of the water,"
the pope said.
"This is a terrible sin, the sin of sloth. This man
was ill not so much from paralysis, but from sloth, which is worse than having a
lukewarm heart," he said. "It is living, but only because I am alive
and have no desire to go on, have no desire to do something in life, to have
lost his memory" of what joy is.
But Jesus does not scold him, the pope said; he tells him
to rise, take his sleeping mat and walk, which he does, disappearing into the
crowd, without saying thank you or even asking Jesus his name.
"Sloth is a sin that paralyzes, makes us lame. It
doesn't let us walk. Even today the Lord looks at each one of us, we have all
sinned, we are all sinners," the pope said, but Jesus still looks and "tells
Everyone is asked to pick up his or her sleeping mat and
walk, "take your life as it is, beautiful, terrible" whatever it's
like and go, the pope said.
"It is your life, it is your joy," he said. The Lord is asking, "Do you want to be healed?" Do not be afraid to say "yes," ask for help and go toward the waters. "Quench your thirst with joy" because it is the joy of salvation, he said.- - -Follow Glatz on Twitter: @CarolGlatz.- - -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 photo/Robert DuncanBy Rhina GuidosWASHINGTON (CNS) -- In Spanish, the word "encuentro" means
encounter and in the modern church in the U.S., it refers to a series of
meetings that will take place over the next four years aimed at getting to know Latinos
and producing more involvement in the church of its second largest and fastest
"The intent is for Latinos to have an encounter with the
entire church and for the church to have an encounter with Latinos,
understanding who they are, how they think, how they live their faith, so we can
work together and move together and build a church together," said Mar
Munoz-Visoso, executive director of the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the
Church for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
A recent report by the Center for Applied Research in the
Apostolate at Georgetown University commissioned by the U.S. bishops shows that
more than half of millennial-generation Catholics born in 1982 or later are
Hispanic or Latino. Those numbers alone call for the church to have a plan of
how it will bring Latinos in the U.S. into the church's leaderships roles, its
vocations and their role in society, Munoz-Visoso said.
"You cannot plan the future of the church without having an
important conversation about this population," she told Catholic News Service. "This effort is very
While the numbers of Latinos in the church are growing,
"there is a gap between the numbers of Latinos in the pews, and the numbers of
Latinos in leadership, and the numbers of vocations, or (Latino students) in
Catholic schools," Munoz-Visoso said.
The first part of encuentro, as the process is called,
started in early 2017 and it's the fifth such process of its kind. Encuentros in the U.S. church took place in 1972, 1977, 1985 and 2000, but the Fifth National Encuentro, also known as "V Encuentro," is expected to be the biggest one of its kind in terms of attendance. Participants first meet in small Christian communities at the local level to discern,
dialogue, reflect about faith and the baptismal call, Munoz-Visoso said. Later in the
year, parishes will hold parish encuentros of their own, which will later
lead to diocesan, regional and finally a nationwide encuentro, set for Sept. 20-23,
2018, in Grapevine, Texas, in the Diocese of Fort Worth. The final part is a "post-national encuentro" that will include
publishing a national working document about ways to implement what was learned
during the process.
Encuentro organizers hope the process will yield an increase
in vocations of Latinos to the priesthood, religious life, permanent diaconate,
an increase in the percentage of Latino students enrolling at Catholic schools,
and create a group of Latino leaders for the church, as well as an increase Latinos'
sense of belonging and stewardship in the U.S. church.
At the fall 2016 meeting of U.S. bishops in Baltimore,
Boston Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley expressed concern that the younger generations of
Latinos "is a demographic that is slipping away from the church and I think we
have a window of opportunity and the window of opportunity is closing."
Many Latinos are "joining the ranks of 'nones,'" said
Cardinal O'Malley, referring to the growing number of Americans who are
choosing to be unaffiliated with any organized religion.
"We have very few, relatively, Hispanics in our Catholic
schools. They're underrepresented in our religious education programs, and I'm
hoping that the outreach that is going to be done as part of the preparation
for this 'encuentro' will make a difference," he said.
Munoz-Visoso said Latinos are being courted by all kinds of groups,
not just other church denominations.
"And we are at this juncture in history where we have this
dilemma, where the majority of the Catholic Church in the country is becoming
Latino, but at the same time, more Latinos than ever are leaving the church,"
she said. "So, we have to address this situation because we have to really
engage them, re-enamor them, their faith and make sure they're committed to their
For those wanting to become involved, they can contact their
local parish to see if the parish is involved in the process. More than 5,000 parishes have
signed up to participate, said Munoz-Visoso.Parish-level encuentros take place this May and June. Diocesan encuentros will take place in the fall in more than 150 dioceses with a total of 200,000 participants. The regional encuentros are slated for March-June 2018, with 10,000 delegates expected to attend. The regions conform to the U.S. bishops' 14 episcopal regions. Then comes the Fifth National Encuentro in Texas, which will have as its theme "Missionary
Disciples: Witnesses of God's Love." This is then followed by the post-encuentro working document.Alejandro Aquilera-Ttitus, assistant director of Hispanic affairs in the diversity secretariat, is national coordinator of the Fifth National Encuentro.The materials for the encuentro meetings were
designed so they could be used by small and large groups, Munoz-Visoso told CNS, and there
are dioceses that plan to use them with migrant workers in the fields, among
prison populations, on university campuses, in prison ministry and in military
services so that U.S. service men and women who want to participate can do so
anywhere in the world.
"The intent is for Latinos ... but we're inviting everybody
(to participate), if they want to have it in their community," Munoz-Visoso said,
adding that the website www.vencuentro.org
has information about getting started.- - -Follow Guidos on Twitter: @CNS_Rhina.- - -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.