Reformed churches sign doctrine agreement

Posted July 21, 2017 at 7:00 am

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Signaling a turning point in ecumenical relations with the Catholic Church, the World Communion of Reformed Churches signed an agreement on a key issue that divided Catholics and Protestants for centuries.

In an ecumenical ceremony July 5 in Wittenberg, Germany, the city where Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” that marked the beginning of the Reformation, the Reformed churches adopted the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.

The agreement, which explains how people are justified in God’s eyes and saved by Jesus Christ, was first signed in 1999 by Catholics and Lutherans. The World Methodist Council adopted the doctrine in 2006.

The Reformed Churches represent an estimated 80 million Christians in Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed, United, Uniting and Waldensian churches around the

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    Bishop Muench praises deacons during homily

    This morning a spirit of joy, excitement and enthusiasm pervades this cherished house of God, more precisely, a Holy Spirit whose special solemnity of Pentecost we celebrated last Sunday. I extend heartiest greetings to all, especially our candidates for the diaconate, wives, children, other family members and friends, as well as all clergy, religious and lay faithful. Particular acknowledgment is made to Father (Jamin) David, Diaconate Formation Office Director, Deacon (John) Veron, Diaconate Ministry and Life Office Director, Dr. (Tina) Holland, Our Lady of the Lake College president and

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    Bishop Muench’s ordination homily

    With great joy I welcome clergy, religious and lay faithful, diocesan and parish staff and members, seminary officials, seminarians, seminary prospects and most especially, Deacons Pat Broussard and Ryan Hallford and deacon candidate Tim Grimes, their families and friends. Ordinands, I recognize the circuitous routes which have led you here. I thank you and those who have supported you along the way. Ultimately we thank God who has directed you. Let us also offer special prayer for Aminthe Broussard, late wife

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    Statement of Bishop Robert W. Muench on recent developments regarding the Alton Sterling case

    The United States Department of Justice has handed down its decision. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the decision, one thing remains the same: there is a racial divide in our city that exposes a gap of access and opportunity.

    We must dedicate ourselves to work for racial healing and transformation in Baton Rouge. While recognizing the universal respect we should have for those whose duty is to ensure our public safety, we must work together for law enforcement and criminal justice reform, economic development in all

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    Bishop Muench’s annual Chrism Mass homily

    With great joy, I welcome everyone to this Chrism Mass. This is the only annual diocesan assembly that brings together priests, deacons, women and men religious, seminarians, lay faithful from our various church parishes, institutions, (Catholic) Life Center personnel, Catholic high school students and cathedral musicians. We represent in microcosm our entire local church.

    Today we remember with deep fondness members of our clergy who, since last year’s Chrism Mass, have been received into eternal life: Msgrs. William Green and Gerald

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    POPE’S EASTER MESSAGE

    Pope Francis delivers his Easter message and blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican April 16. Photo provided by CNS

    Vatican releases pope’s schedule for Fatima visit

    VATICAN CITY – (CNS) Celebrating the 100th anniversary of apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, Pope Francis will lead the evening recitation of rosary and celebrate Mass on the anniversary at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima when he visits Portugal on May 12-13.

    The pope will make the two-day pilgrimage to the site where Mary appeared to three shepherd children May 13, 1917. The apparitions continued once a month until Oct. 13, 1917, and later were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.

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    Bishop Muench offers support to task force recommendations

    Greetings of peace in the New Year!

    After two years of work and visitations to every church parish in our diocese, the Diocesan Pastoral Planning Task Force has completed and presented to me the report containing recommendations for ongoing pastoral planning in our diocese. I am very happy to accept these recommendations and offer my support as we move forward toward implementation.

    You will notice that the report is divided into four sections: 1.

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    ‘Fraternal correction’ of pope idea dismissed

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The Catholic Church is “very far” from a situation in which the pope is in need of “fraternal correction” because he has not put the faith and church teaching in danger, said Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    Interviewed Jan. 9 on the Italian all-news channel, TGCom24, Cardinal Muller said Pope Francis’ document on the family, “Amoris Laetitia,” was “very clear” in its teaching.

    In the document, the

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    Pope to diplomats: Break bad habits of war, injustice

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – At the start of a new year, Pope Francis laid out a laundry list of suggested resolutions for religious and political leaders for making a joint commitment toward building peace.

    No conflict exists that is “a habit impossible to break,” the pope said, but he underlined that kicking such a habit requires greater efforts to rectify social injustice, protect religious freedom, jump-start peace talks, end the arms trade and cooperate in responding to climate

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    Beyond expectations: Pope sees God of surprises at work in 2016

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis described 2016 as a “packed year,” one full of initiatives that helped Catholics “see and touch with their hands the fruits of the mercy of God.”

    “The Lord always surprises us and goes beyond our expectations,” the pope said Nov. 28, looking back at what happened over the past 12 months, especially in events related to the Year of Mercy.

    While the jubilee celebrations dominated the papal calendar, they did not halt other activities

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    Priests Formation Days spiritually enriching for clergy members

    Dear People of God of the Diocese of Baton Rouge,

    The Continuing Formation of the Clergy Committee is hosting the Annual Priests’ Formation Days on January 9-12, 2017. These formation days are one of the important ways in which the priests of our diocese are formed for ministry. They offer the priests opportunities for growth in intellectual and spiritual formation, emotional maturity and physical well-being. Since these days are offered once a year, and is a commitment by the diocese

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    Christ’s birth offers welcome reassurance

    As Christmas nears, we approach the manger at Bethlehem where our Divine Savior was starkly, but lovingly, birthed in an ancient world in need of peace and meaning found reassurance. Ironically, we in today’s world, find ourselves in similar need.

    The inexhaustible mystery of God’s divinity, infinity and eternity brings tranquility to the anguished, healing to the infirm, comfort to the grieving, relief to the burdened, hope to the despairing, direction to the lost, joy to the afflicted and love to the forsaken. It validates the personal

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    Priests Formation Days spiritually enriching for clergy members

    Dear People of God of the Diocese of Baton Rouge,

    The Continuing Formation of the Clergy Committee is hosting the Annual Priests’ Formation Days on January 9-12, 2017. These formation days are one of the important ways in which the priests of our diocese are formed for ministry. They offer the priests opportunities for growth in intellectual and spiritual formation, emotional maturity and physical well-being. Since these days are offered once a year, and is a commitment by the diocese

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    Time of mercy: Holy doors close, but mission of mercy continues

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The Year of Mercy brought more than 20 million pilgrims to Rome, but for Pope Francis, the idea always was that the celebration of God’s mercy would be local: have people experience God’s love in their parishes and send them out into the world to commit random acts of mercy.

    While concrete works of mercy have a social impact, Pope Francis’ idea was deeply connected to evangelization, which is why Rome jubilee events were organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New

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    BAA an opportunity to show appreciation for Christ’s mercy

    “Compassion has a human face. It means to suffer with, to suffer together, to not remain indifferent to the pain and the suffering of others. It is what Jesus felt when he saw the crowds who followed him” (Pope Francis, “The Name of God Is Mercy”). We have seen the need on many faces in recent weeks, as many thousands of our neighbors have experienced record flooding and the loss of everything they owned. Believing the father has shown us mercy we follow a scriptural example. We embrace

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    Off the beaten path: Pope looks far afield for new cardinals

    Catholic News Service

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Choosing new members of the College of Cardinals, Pope Francis once again looked to countries and particularly to dioceses that were not and never had been represented in the body that advises the pope and bears responsibility for electing his successor.

    Cardinal-designate Blase J. Cupich of Chicago smiles while speaking to the media after

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    St. Teresa of Kolkata will always be ‘Mother’ Teresa, pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – With a large tapestry bearing the portrait of the woman known as the “Saint of the Gutters” suspended above him, Pope Francis proclaimed the sainthood of Mother Teresa of Kolkata, hailing her courage and love for the poor.

    Despite the formality of the occasion though, “her sanctity is so close to us, so tender and fruitful, that spontaneously we will continue to call her ‘Mother Teresa,’ ” Pope Francis said to applause at the canonization Mass Sept. 4.

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    Unwelcome flooding provides opportunity for spiritual growth

    (On Aug. 18, Bishop Muench celebrated and preached the homily for the annual Back to School Mass for the Diocesan Catholic School Office personnel, Catholic school administrators and others. In original form the homily was unscripted. After a request from The Catholic Commentator to publish it, the bishop submitted the following, slightly revised version.)

    Forty-eight years ago, while preparing to be ordained a priest, I had a simple card printed quoting Pope John XXIII, now St. Pope John XXIII:

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    Pope expresses shock over violence in French church

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The murder of a priest in northern France, taken hostage with a handful of other faithful during a weekday morning Mass July 26, is another act of “absurd violence” added to too many stories of senseless violence and death, said the Vatican spokesman.

    Pope Francis was informed about the hostage situation at the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen and the murder of 85-year-old Father Jacques Hamel, said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.

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    Bishop’s request for prayer to bring peace

    As we mourn the deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Philando Castille in Falcon Heights, and the five Dallas Police Officers: Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael J. Smith, Michael Krol, and Lorne Ahrens, we acknowledge that we who make up the church of the Diocese of Baton Rouge are as diverse as the communities in which we live. We have different stories, different experiences, different backgrounds, different opinions, and different understandings. The current situation in our community is fluid and changing. As we search as a diocese to respond in a way that

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    Retired Pope Benedict XVI says he ‘feels protected’ by Pope Francis

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – In his first public address in almost a year, retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his sincere gratefulness to Pope Francis, saying that his goodness “from the first moment of your election, in every moment of my life here, touches me deeply.”

    “More than the beauty found in the Vatican Gardens, your goodness is the place where I live; I feel protected,” Pope Benedict said June 28.

    Pope Benedict also

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    Challenge to church is to become more ecclesial-minded

    (Below is Bishop Muench’s address during a meeting of priests, deacons and department heads regarding the Pastoral Planning Task Force on June 16 at the Bishop Robert E. Tracy Center.)

    In April 2014, the Pastoral Planning Task Force was appointed with clergy, consecrated persons and lay faithful members, and Father Trey Nelson, chair, with the assistance of SSA Consultants. I ask all of you to join me in thanking these people for their conscientious, diligent two-year work to date.

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    Too many couples do not understand marriage is for life, pope says

    ROME (CNS) – Because most people today do not understand that sacramental marriage really is a bond that binds them to each other for life, many marriages today can be considered invalid, Pope Francis said.

    Raising a point he has raised before, and one also raised by now-retired Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis insisted June 16 that the validity of a marriage implies that a couple understands that sacramental marriage is a bond that truly binds them to another for their entire lives.

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    Christians, Muslims are called to imitate God’s mercy, says cardinal

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – God asks Christians and Muslims to be forgiving, merciful and compassionate toward others, especially those in need, said Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran.

    “We are saddened to see so many victims of conflicts and violence,” in particular the elderly, children and women, as well as people who suffer from human trafficking, poverty, illness, natural disasters and unemployment, said the cardinal, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

    “We cannot close our eyes to these realities, or turn

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    Bishop Muench’s ordination homily

    With consummate joy we assemble this morning in our revered cathedral celebrating this historic, graced occasion for our two highly-prized ordinands, beloved diocese and the church universal. We heartily welcome you, Deacon Ed, candidate Ryan, your family members and all. We express congratulations and support to you, and immense thanks to God. We also offer special prayers for Jenny Nates Martin, the late wife of Deacon Ed. May she rest in the peace of the risen Christ.

    The biblical

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    Bishop’s letter to diocese from 2014

    Dearly Beloved Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

    Greetings. “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). This “great commission of Jesus,” given to the eleven before his ascension into heaven, is the same instruction assigned to every Christian community throughout time. The recent Diocesan Rite of Election, where we celebrated the anticipated entrance of almost 500 new members to Catholicism at this year’s Easter Vigil, is one sign

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    Bishop Muench asks for openness during Chrism Mass homily

    I acknowledge representatives from our various Church parishes, schools, diocesan offices and agencies, deacons and their wives, religious, and on this, their anticipated Holy Thursday feast day, our esteemed priests. We recognize in particular those priests celebrating ordination anniversaries this year: 60 years, Msgr. Lefebvre and Father Marcell; 50 years, Father Mascarella; 45 years, Father Moroney; 40 years, Father Healy SSJ; 35 years, Father Clark SJ; 30 years, Father Gyan, Father Lorraine and Father Suchit IMS; 25 years, Father

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