IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenROME (CNS) -- New archbishops naturally wonder if they are
the right person for the job, but reassurance comes from concelebrating Mass
with Pope Francis, the pope who appointed them, said Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and
Celebrating the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul with Pope
Francis June 29 was a celebration of unity, the archbishop told Catholic News
Service after Mass.
Joining 24 other archbishops from 14 other countries for the
Mass "really helps a new archbishop to recognize that what he's doing is
part of something much larger," Archbishop Hebda said.
The archbishops, who had been named over the past year, had
a few minutes in private with Pope Francis and, Archbishop Hebda said, he
expressed his closeness to the people of St. Paul and Minneapolis "in some
The archbishop, 56, was named head of the archdiocese in March, nine months after taking over as archdiocesan administrator in the midst of turmoil
over how allegations of clerical sexual abuse had been handled in the
archdiocese. Archbishop John
C. Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee A. Piche resigned, citing the need
to step down to allow healing to begin in the archdiocese.
In his homily at the Mass, Pope Francis spoke about prayer
as the key to unlocking prisons of selfishness and paralyzing fear.
Asked if he experienced fear when he was named to the
Minnesota archdiocese, Archbishop Hebda said, "I think there's always some
anxiety: Am I the right person for this position with its challenges?"
However, he said, "one of the wonderful things about
coming to Rome and having that opportunity to be with Pope Francis is you
realize that he's the one who sent me there, and to the extent that we are able
to stay close to him and that we trust him, we should have a sense that indeed
my appointment there was a good thing not only for the archdiocese, but also
for me and for the church."
"Some of that anxiety that I think is very natural in
going to a new assignment is alleviated by knowing the person who assigned me there,"
the archbishop said.
Archbishop Hebda was accompanied to Rome by a small group of
his family members, including a brother and a sister. His nephew, Terence Hebda, who read the first reading at the Mass,
did "such a great job" and continued a family tradition, the
archbishop said. Terence's father had read at a public Mass years ago with St.
John Paul II.
Pope Francis' homily had an important message for the
Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, he said, "because we know that
the Lord can do great things when we open ourselves to his grace, when we place
our hope in him and when we're willing to embrace even the surprises that come
our way and obviously fear is something that can keep us from doing that."
"Certainly in our archdiocese we have some difficult
legal problems before us," he said, "and just recognizing that when
we place our trust in the Lord, place our trust in Pope Francis, that we have
hope that indeed the Lord is going to unlock that door for us and help us move
forward."- - -Copyright © 2016 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.
By Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The superior general of the
traditionalist Society of St. Pius X said Pope Francis, rather than denouncing
errors in Catholic doctrine, has "encouraged" them.
"The Society of St. Pius X prays and does penance for
the pope, that he might have the strength to proclaim Catholic faith and morals
in their entirety," said a statement published June 29, the feast of Sts.
Peter and Paul, patron saints of the church of Rome.
Bernard Fellay, superior
general of the society, issued the statement after a meeting June 25-28
of the group's leaders.
The society has been in talks with the Vatican in a search
for a way to reintegrate it and its members fully into the life of the Catholic
Church. Bishop Fellay met personally with Pope Francis in April, which seemed
to signal that progress was being made.
Talks with the group began under St. John Paul II and
continued throughout the papacy of now-retired Pope Benedict XVI.
St. John Paul had excommunicated Bishop Fellay and other
leaders of the society in 1988
when they were ordained without papal permission. Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, founder of the society
and the bishop who ordained them, also was excommunicated; he died in 1991.
Pope Benedict lifted the excommunications in 2009.
In the statement June 29, Bishop Fellay said that "in
the great and painful confusion that currently reigns in the church, the
proclamation of Catholic doctrine requires the denunciation of errors that have
made their way into it and are unfortunately encouraged by a large number of
pastors, including the pope himself."
The statement did not specify the "errors" it was
referring to or how the society believes Pope Francis is encouraging them.
While the society "has a right" to full canonical
recognition, he said, its primary aim is to teach the fullness of Catholic
faith, "which shows the only route to follow in this age of darkness in
which the cult of man replaces the worship of God, in society as in the church."
"The 'restoration of all things in Christ' intended by
St. Pius X, following St. Paul (cf. Eph. 1:10), cannot happen without the
support of a pope who concretely favors the return to sacred tradition,"
the statement said. "While waiting for that blessed day, the Society of St.
Pius X intends to redouble its efforts to establish and to spread, with the
means that divine providence gives to it, the social reign of Our Lord Jesus
Christ."- - -Copyright © 2016 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/Paul HaringBy Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Prayer is a key that opens the door
to God, unlocks selfish, fearful hearts and leads people from sadness to joy
and from division to unity, Pope Francis said on the feast of Sts. Peter and
Prayer is "the main way out: the way out for the
community that risks closing up inside itself because of persecution and
fear," he said during a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica June 29.
Prayer -- entrusting oneself humbly to God and his will
-- "is always the way out of our personal and community's closures,"
Twenty-five archbishops appointed over the course of the
past year were invited to come to Rome to concelebrate the feast day Mass with
Pope Francis. They came from 15 countries.
Among those invited to concelebrate were Archbishops
Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis; Francisco Moreno
Barron of Tijuana, Mexico; Juan Garcia Rodriguez of Havana; and Kenneth
Richards of Kingston, Jamaica. Of the new archbishops, 11 were from the
Americas, 10 from Europe and one each from Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Middle
Like last year, the pope did not confer the pallium on
new archbishops during the liturgy, but rather, blessed the palliums after they
were brought up from the crypt above the tomb of St. Peter. The actual
imposition of the woolen band was to take place in the archbishop's archdiocese
in the presence of his faithful and bishops from neighboring dioceses.
The pallium is a woolen band that symbolizes an
archbishop's unity with the pope and his authority and responsibility to care
for the flock the pope entrusted to him.
In his homily, the pope said when Jesus promised Peter
the keys, it was a symbol of his ability to open the kingdom of heaven, not
lock it up like the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees did to those seeking to
The day's first reading, from Chapter 12 of the Acts of
the Apostles, the pope said, speaks of different kinds of closure: Peter being
locked up in prison and a group of faithful gathered inside a home in prayer
and in fear.
After God sends an angel to free Peter from his captors,
the apostle goes to the house of a woman named Mary, and knocks on the door.
Though many people are gathered inside in prayer, they are unsure about opening
the door, unable to believe Peter is really outside knocking to be let in, Pope
King Herod's persecution of Christians created a climate
of fear, the pope said, and "fear makes us immobile, it always stops us.
It closes us up, closes us to God's surprises."
This temptation is always out there for the church, even
today, to close itself up in times of danger, he said.
However, prayer offers "the grace to open up a way
out: from closure to openness, from fear to courage, from sadness to joy. And,
we can add, from division to unity," he said, noting the customary
presence at the Mass of a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of
This year, the delegation was led by Greek Orthodox
Metropolitan Methodios of Boston. He joined the pope at the end of the Mass to
pray together under the main altar over St. Peter's tomb.
A Lutheran choir from Germany and an Anglican choir from
Oxford sang with the Vatican's Sistine Chapel Choir during the Mass.
During his Angelus address, the pope said Sts. Peter and
Paul, who are the patrons of the Vatican and the city of Rome, are "two
columns and two great lights that shine not only in Rome's sky, but in the
heart of the faithful in the East and West."
Peter and Paul came to Rome from the Holy Land to preach
the Gospel, he said. Out of their love for God, they left their homes, endured
a long and difficult journey and faced great risk and suspicion.
If Christianity is a living and fundamental part of
Rome's spiritual and cultural heritage, the pope said, it's thanks to "the
apostolic courage of these two sons of the Near East."
The saints' feast day, which is a holiday in Rome,
reminds people of the continued presence of Peter -- a humble fisherman -- and
Paul -- a great teacher -- and how even today they "knock on the doors of
our homes, but especially our hearts."
"Once again they want to bring Jesus, his merciful
love, his solace, his peace" to everyone, he said.
Pope Francis asked those gathered in the St. Peter's
Square to let the "candid and firm faith of Peter and the great and
universal heart of Paul help us be joyous Christians, faithful to the Gospel
and open to encountering everyone."- - -Copyright © 2016 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 illustration/Liz AgbeyBy Chaz MuthWASHINGTON
(CNS) -- At first glance, it's difficult to distinguish Father Lukasz J.
Willenberg as a Catholic priest as he gathers with U.S. Army paratroopers
preparing for a training jump at Pope Field near Fayetteville, North Carolina.
of wearing the traditional black clerics, the 34-year-old Polish immigrant is
sporting fatigues, a camouflage helmet and a contraption strapped to his back
that will release a parachute after he jumps out of a military aircraft, along
with the scores of other soldiers waiting in that same harness shed on a warm
March afternoon earlier this year.
before the men and women are called to board the aircraft, Father Willenberg
stands up, and with the heavy jump gear fastened to his fit body, he sluggishly
makes his way to the center of the shelter to lead everyone in a prayer.
this priest prays, works, trains and jumps out of airplanes with the men and
women in the second battalion of the 3rd Brigade in the U.S. Army's famed 82nd
Airborne Division's 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment located at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville.
he is an ordained priest of the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, Father
Willenberg also is a captain in the U.S. Army and one of the dwindling numbers
of Catholic chaplains serving in the U.S. military.
have had a presence in the American military since the U.S. Army Chaplains
Corps was established July 29, 1775.
chaplains are commissioned officers serving in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force,
Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The priests are basically on loan from their
dioceses while they serve. Unlike traditional parish priests, most chaplains
work side-by-side with their flock.
spend most of my day with the people I serve with, so my involvement in their
lives is definitely more intensified than when I served as a parish priest,"
Father Willenberg said. "It's the commission of Jesus in the purest sense,
to go out and preach and teach and baptize, go everywhere basically and give
yourself completely to those you are with."
views his chaplaincy as a way of fulfilling Pope Francis' call to priests to
get out of their rectories and smell like the sheep.
the beautiful aspect of being a chaplain," Father Willenberg said. "As
a priest, there is no greater fulfillment. There are so many opportunities to
impact the lives of the people we serve with and their families."
say there is a shortage of Catholic military chaplains currently serving in the
U.S. armed forces is an understatement, according to Archbishop Timothy P.
Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services in Washington.
U.S. Department of Defense estimates there are 1.3 million active duty and
811,000 reserve men and women serving in all five branches of the U.S. military,
about 25 percent of whom are Catholic.
there are only 214 priests on active duty serving in the U.S. military, accounting
for about 8 percent of the chaplain corps, Archbishop Broglio told Catholic
News Service during a June interview.
about 500 priests fewer than the archbishop says there should be just to meet
the pastoral needs of the people serving in the armed forces and their
if you break the current numbers down just for the active duty service men and
women, there are currently 214 chaplains serving approximately 325,000
Catholics in the U.S. military, or about a priest for every 1,519 Catholic and
that doesn't include their family members.
military does contract with priests near several military installations to help
out and in some cases serve as the Catholic presence, but there is always a
preference for a chaplain who is actually embedded in that particular branch of
the armed forces, Archbishop Broglio said.
is a tremendous gap between the need for Catholic priests and their actual
presence in the military," he said. "This means that you have installations
where if the archdiocese is unable to find a contractor who might fill in for
the military chaplain, there simply isn't a Catholic program."
far the archdiocese has been able to ensure a chaplain is on every aircraft
carrier in the U.S. fleet, allowing each of these men to minister to all of the
surrounding ships, but with only 48 priests currently serving in the U.S. Navy,
Archbishop Broglio isn't sure that can continue to be the case.
priests tend to be older clergy members, sometimes they are former military,
and in cases where there is no chaplain available, they are able to offer
essential Catholic services and can be available for counseling.
Archbishop Broglio is grateful for each contract priest who serves, he said
that "his ability to minister is limited by the fact that he doesn't
necessarily have the security clearance and he can't always go where the men
and women work."
are a number of reasons why the number of military chaplains has dropped from
more than 400 at the turn of the 21st century to the current 214.
are fewer priests serving in U.S. dioceses than during the vocations heyday of
the mid-20th century.
there has been a bit of an uptick in ordinations in recent years, most dioceses
and archdioceses are still ending up with a net loss of clergy, because for
every priest ordained each year, sometimes two are leaving ministry because of
retirement or death.
factor is that priests tend to be older at ordination than Protestant clergy,
making the physical demands and the age requirements of serving in the military
more restrictive for many current Catholic priests, Archbishop Broglio said.
also a difficult decision for a bishop or archbishop to release one of their
priests to serve in the military, since most of them are dealing with clergy
shortages of their own.
Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin was approached by Father Willenberg about his
desire to service as an Army chaplain, the answer wasn't immediately yes.
Tobin's primary responsibility is to Catholics in the state of Rhode Island and
he told CNS that losing the "ministry of a fine young priest like Father
Luke" was a significant sacrifice for the diocese.
ended up releasing Father Willenberg to serve for at least a three-year tour in
the army, but said he struggled with the decision.
recruiting efforts have been employed to bring more priests into the military
chaplaincy corps, including biannual discernment retreats for interested eligible
Archdiocese for the Military Services also now has a full-time vocations
Archbishop Broglio has been encouraged by the number of recruits in recent
years, he said it will take years of steady increases to reach the number of
Catholic chaplains he really needs.
the armed forces chaplaincy is most frequently viewed as a positive military component,
some Catholic peace organizations object to priests serving in institutions
that engage in war.
Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy of Brockton, Massachusetts, a co-founder of
Pax Christi USA, sees a conflict of interest for a follower of Jesus Christ to
serve in, and be paid by, a branch of the armed services, which sanction the
killing of other humans in combat situations.
McCarthy doesn't have a problem with priests providing pastoral care to
soldiers, airmen, sailors, Marines or members of the Coast Guard. However, he
believes that being a commissioned officer in the military makes it impossible
for that priest to maintain his objectivity when preaching the Gospel message
that killing any human is an act of evil.
Archbishop Broglio and the numerous chaplains interviewed by CNS say chaplains
have an essential role in the military. They all say having priests embedded in
each branch of the military provides them access to serve as a moral compass to
those who make life and death decisions.
large part of my effectiveness comes because I live the life of the people that
I serve," said Father Michael A. Mikstay, a Navy chaplain currently
serving at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. "Those hardships that men
and women endure in combat, I endure in combat.
gains me entrance into people's lives that can't be accomplished simply because
you're a clergy person," he told CNS during a May interview. "My
credibility rests on that very fact that wherever that unit, that command that
I'm assigned to goes, I go. Whatever training they do, I do. They're sent to
combat, I go. Day in and day out, especially in war, we're there."
on Twitter: @Chazmaniandevyl.- - -Copyright © 2016 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/Paul Hackett, ReutersBy Simon CaldwellMANCHESTER, England (CNS) --
Catholic bishops condemned a sharp rise in xenophobic and racist attacks
following Britain's vote to leave the European Union.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols of
Westminster said the "upsurge of racism, of hatred toward others is
something we must not tolerate."
"We have to say this is
simply not acceptable in a humane society, and it should never be provoked or
promoted," he said.
The June 28 statement from
Cardinal Nichols, president of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales,
came a day after the National Police Chiefs' Council revealed that of 85
complaints of hate crime were received between June 23, the day of the
referendum on United Kingdom membership in the EU, and June 26.
The figure represented a 57 percent
increase in such offenses in a similar period just a month earlier.
Xenophobic incidents included
the vandalism of the buildings of a Polish social and cultural association in
London and the verbal abuse of foreigners on a tram in Manchester, a film of
which was sent to Channel 4 News June 28.
Far-right nationalists at a
rally in Newcastle June 25 unfurled a banner that demanded: "Stop
Immigration, Start Repatriation" and, on June 28, a German woman who has
lived in Britain since the 1970s wept as she told LBC London radio that she was
too scared to leave her house three days after dog excrement was thrown at her
She said: "My neighbors
told me that they don't want me living in this road and that they are not
friends with foreigners."
"My friend ... has a
grandson who is 7 and who was beaten up because he has a foreign grandmother,"
Britain has been a primary
destination for many citizens of poorer EU countries, with annual net migration
reaching 330,000 people a year. Many of the migrants to the U.K. are Catholics
from Central Europe, Asia and Africa.
Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth
told CNS in a June 28 telephone interview that, in his diocese, there were "huge
numbers of immigrants from Poland, Kerala (India), the Philippines and Nigeria."
"I am extremely sad to
think of violence against foreign people who are living here," he said. "There
is no justification whatsoever for that.
"Many of these immigrants
are already beloved members of our communities. They have contributed to local
life and organizations," he said.
"Britain has always,
through the centuries, been a country which has assimilated people from abroad,
and they have taken on our values, and also they have made us proud because
they have made a great success of it," Bishop Egan said.
"Both materially and
spiritually, the vast majority of people who are working here and in our
diocese are making a wonderful contribution," he added. "To think of
violence against them is self-destructive. It is self-harm. We are harming
ourselves as much as we are inflicting division and suffering on others."
Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton,
the diocese based in Bristol, also issued a statement telling Catholics
that it was important "to work for the common good and not create barriers
of division and prejudice."
"We should have a profound
respect for one another, and this should be reflected in the way we speak and
behave," said the statement posted on the diocesan website June 27.
"We need to keep in mind
the needs of all citizens, particularly those who may feel marginalized at this
present moment, and continue to be a tolerant society, free of racial and
religious prejudice," he said.
Concerns over the phenomenon of
mass migration, and the apparent inability of the U.K. to control its borders,
had helped to fuel efforts to take Britain out of the EU in a referendum won by
the "Leave" campaigners, with the public voting 52-48 percent to
withdraw from the bloc.
British Prime Minister David
Cameron, who had fought for the U.K. to remain inside the EU, announced his
resignation June 24.
In the weeks before the
referendum, national newspapers such as the Mail on Sunday had exposed how
far-right nationalists, including neo-Nazis, had been actively campaigning on
the Leave side.
Witold Sobkow, Poland's
ambassador to the U.K., expressed shock at the surge in xenophobic abuse.
Cameron told the House of
Commons June 27 that such crimes must be stamped out. "We will not stand
for hate crime or these kinds of attacks," he said.- - -Copyright © 2016 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.