NBCC to explore the call to live the Gospel

Posted June 23, 2017 at 12:00 am

WASHINGTON (CNS) Delegates attending Congress XII of the National Black Catholic Congress in Orlando, Florida, in July will take on new responsibilities this time around.

Rather than working from a draft of a pastoral plan developed prior to the congress as per tradition, the 2,000 attendees will be tasked with developing a pastoral plan during the July 6-9 gathering and taking it home to their parishes and dioceses.

“We’re interested in what the people have to say, what’s in their hearts. It’s what they want to see addressed (by the Catholic Church),” said Father Stephen D. Thorne, pastor of St. Martin de Porres Parish in Philadelphia and a congress leader.

“In the end, what is finally approved, we hope to see it reflected in the pastoral

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    Congolese priest: Demand for cellphone metals thwarts efforts to end war

    MANCHESTER, England – (CNS) Global demand for metallic ores used in cellphones is thwarting efforts to end war and violence in Congo, said an African priest.

    Any person who possesses a cellphone or other electronic device with components derived from such “conflict minerals” is benefiting from bloodshed, said Father Richard Muembo, rector of a Congolese seminary firebombed earlier this year.

    “Anyone who uses modern technology nowadays is in some way using the

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    Trump urged to protect religious liberty

    WASHINGTON – (CNS) Catholic Church leaders in a Feb. 16 statement said they were encouraged that President Donald Trump may be considering an executive order to protect religious freedom and said they would be grateful if he would move forward with the pledge that his administration would “do everything in its power to defend and protect religious liberty.”

    “As Christians, our goal is to live and serve others as the Gospel asks. President Trump can ensure that we are not forced from the public square,” said the

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    Archdiocese of Military Services takes up special collection for victims

    Catholics in the Armed Forces and members of the Archdiocese for Military Services have donated $63,383.39 in humanitarian assistance to victims of the historic flooding this past August.

    The AMS sent the donation on Jan. 27 to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which will distribute the funds, along with many other donations received from throughout the country, to south Louisiana flood victims through Catholic Charities USA.

    The donations were taken up

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    NCEA leader says school choice support can help Catholic parents

    SAN FRANCISCO – (CNS) The Trump administration’s apparent endorsement of parental school choice could present a “huge opportunity” for Catholic school parents, the president of the National Catholic Educational Association told a group of Catholic high school teachers in San Francisco.

    “This could be a huge opportunity for parents wanting to choose the right school for their children,” Thomas Burnford, NCEA president, told participants at the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s annual high school teachers’ consortium Feb. 3.

    “Whatever your politics,

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    Religious, political leaders condemn shooting at Quebec mosque

    QUEBEC CITY – Faith and political leaders condemned a shooting at Quebec's main mosque that left at least six people dead.

    Vigils were scheduled Jan. 30 in Quebec City and Montreal, the evening after two men entered the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center and opened fire, killing at least six men who were praying and injuring 19 more. Police later arrested two suspects, two men aged between 20 and 30. The motive behind the attack remained unclear.

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    Bishop opposes death sentence for killer

    CHARLESTON, S.C. (CNS) – Jurors unanimously agreed to sentence Dylann Roof to death for killing nine black churchgoers.

    In closing statements before the deliberation Jan. 10, the unrepentant 22-year-old told jurors that “I still feel like I had to do it,” the Associated Press reported.

    Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone of Charleston said in a statement that the Catholic Church opposes capital punishment and reminded people that all life is sacred.

    “We are all

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    The year racism and fear make a comeback

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – It began with the fatal shootings of unarmed black men and women by police. It was exacerbated in the summer when, on July 7, a gunman in Dallas opened fire on police during a march, killing five officers in a presumed act of retaliation.

    Catholic Church leaders such as Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta in August called on others “to resolve to address the issues that lie beneath these acts of violence.” But

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    Refugees, migration a front-burner topic

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – American artist Jacob Lawrence detailed the plight of black Americans in the South who were discriminated against, exploited for their labor, threatened with death and sometimes killed, and who lived in substandard conditions until they made their way north in hopes for a better life in his landmark work “The Migration Series.”

    The final panel of Lawrence’s 60-panel series, which had its first showing in 1941, reads simply: “And the migrants kept coming.”

    Today, 75 years

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    Archbishop calls for bishops’ racism statement given election tension

    BALTIMORE (CNS) – Earlier this year, as communities faced tensions, protests and violence, following a spate of shootings and killings of black men by police, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, asked dioceses across the country to observe a day of prayer for peace.

    He also wanted the bishops to look for ways they could help the suffering communities, as well as police affected by the incidents.

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    Catholics’ postelection to-do list: work for unity, healing

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – All the distrust, vitriol and rancor stirred up during the 2016 presidential election campaign did not go away when votes were tallied.

    The Nov. 8 election’s outcome prompting dozens of protests across the country.

    Political leaders, including Hillary Clinton, President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama, acknowledged the disunity and urged people after the election to try to work together.

    Catholic leaders have been making similar pleas, not only for

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    California continues to force health plans to cover elective abortions

    WASHINGTON – On June 21, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared that the California Department of Managed Health Care can continue to force all health plans under its jurisdiction to cover elective abortions. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is calling for an immediate federal legislative remedy.

    “It is shocking that HHS has allowed the State of California to force all employers even churches to fund and facilitate elective abortions in their health insurance plans. Even those

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    House bill would protect religious freedom at federal level

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee July 12 held a hearing on the First Amendment Defense Act, a bill two U.S archbishops said would provide “a measure of protection for religious freedom at the federal level.”

    The legislation was introduced June 17 by Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. The same day Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, introduced the measure as S. 1598 in the Senate.

    The day of the hearing Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco and Archbishop William

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    U.S. bishops speak out against attack in Turkey

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – Following the June 28 terrorist attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport in Turkey, the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference and Chicago’s archbishop issued statements emphasizing the need to find comfort in faith and show support Serra Club Essay Winners Announced to the suffering with prayer and generosity.

    The attack left over 40 people dead and over 230 injured.

    “Evil tests our humanity. It tempts us to linger in the terror of Istanbul, Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino (and) Orlando,” said

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    Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court justice, dies

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court, died of apparent natural causes at a resort in West Texas Feb. 13. He was 79.

    Scalia, a Catholic, was appointed in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. Five of the remaining eight justices also are Catholic.

    In a statement, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called Scalia “a man of God, a patriot and an unwavering defender of the written

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    USCCB files amicus brief on behalf of Little Sisters of the Poor

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – The general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Little Sisters of the Poor, who have asked the court for relief from being forced to comply with the federal contraceptive mandate.

    The brief was filed Jan. 8 in the Zubik v. Burwell case, which the court will hear this year. The case will determine whether the Little Sisters of the Poor and other ministries can be forced to comply with

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    Court rules Fla.’s death penalty system unconstitutional

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – The U.S. Supreme Court Jan. 12 said the state of Florida’s death penalty system is unconstitutional because it allows judges, rather than juries, to determine whether a convicted criminal should get a death sentence.

    Michael B. Sheedy, executive director of the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops in Tallahassee, said the conference was “pleased this decision was issued so promptly” on what was the first day of Florida’s 2016 legislative session.

    “This should compel the Legislature to address

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    Refugee crisis, mandates, same-sex marriage dominate 2015

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CNS) – The explosive global refugee crisis and Pope Francis visit to the United States that included an historic address to Congress were perhaps the top news stories of 2015 affecting the Catholic community but same-sex marriage and the continued debate over healthcare mandates also were debate-sparking issues.

    Several of those issues appear destined to dominate domestic and foreign politics for years to come even at a time when Pope Francis has been calling for a compassionate world response.

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    San Bernardino bishop urges prayers for unity, healing after shootings

    SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (CNS) – San Bernardino Bishop Gerald R. Barnes urged people to pray for unity and healing after the mass shooting in San Bernardino Dec. 2 that left 14 people dead and 17 others wounded.

    “For those who lost their lives, we pray for their eternal rest and God’s strength to their loved ones left behind; for those who are wounded, we pray for their health and healing,” he said.

    In a Dec. 2 statement, the bishop called

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    Catholic-Lutheran document sums up agreements, maps steps to full unity

    BALTIMORE (CNS) – A new 120-page document marks the progress in Catholic-Lutheran relations over the past 50 years and maps the remaining steps needed to achieve full unity.

    The “Declaration on the Way” was prepared by a joint task force of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and the Chicago-based Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which has more than 3.7 million members in 9,300 congregations across the United States.

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    Supreme Court will hear appeals in Catholic, other groups’ mandate cases

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – The U.S. Supreme Court justices said Nov. 6 they will hear seven pending appeals in lawsuits brought by several Catholic and other faith-based entities against the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate.

    The court will hear appeals from groups in Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and the District of Columbia.

    Among the plaintiffs are the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Archdiocese of Washington, Priests for Life, Southern Nazarene

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    Pope to Congress: Stop bickering, world needs your help

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – The past, the promise and the potential of the United States must not be smothered by bickering and even hatred at a time when the U.S. people and indeed the world need a helping hand, Pope Francis told the U.S. Congress.

    Making history by being the first pope ever to address a joint meeting of Congress, Pope Francis was introduced to the legislators by the House sergeant at arms Sept. 24 as: “Mr. Speaker, the pope of the

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    Memory and motion: Pope Francis shows Americans who he really is

    PHILADELPHIA (CNS) – Pope Francis speaks often about memory and motion, the importance of remembering where you came from and setting off without fear to share the Gospel.

    That’s what he did in the United States. He circled the Statue of Liberty in a helicopter and flew over Ellis Island not preparing to condemn the world’s great superpower, but to reflect on its history and promise as a land that welcomes people, makes them part of the family and allows them

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    Catholic policy advocates crossing fingers in advance of papal visit

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – There is no doubt that Pope Francis’ impending visit to the United States is generating a lot of enthusiasm.

    For some people, the rarity of a papal visit to these shores is reason enough to trek hundreds of miles or more for the opportunity to be with him, or near him, even if only briefly.

    There are others, though, who hope that the pope’s words will provide a

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    Appeals court rules against additional religious groups’ mandate objections

    CHICAGO (CNS) – Several additional Catholic entities in Indiana were among those told by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Sept. 4 that there is not a substantial burden to their religious rights in the process they must follow to avoid having to pay for contraceptive coverage in employee health insurance.

    The 7th Circuit had ruled last December in a case involving the University of Notre Dame that a process known as an accommodation for avoiding the mandate does not substantially burden the Catholic institution’s religious

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    Court rules against Little Sisters

    DENVER (CNS) – The Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious entities are not substantially burdened by procedures set out by the federal government by which they can avoid a requirement to provide contraceptive coverage in health insurance, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled July 14.

    In a lengthy opinion that considered arguments raised by the organizations under First Amendment religious rights protections and under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the court said the groups are not substantially burdened by filing out a form

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    Health care subsidy ruling hailed by many, but criticism continues

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – The Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling that upheld federal subsidies to keep health insurance premiums affordable regardless of whether the state or federal government runs the exchange system was welcomed by the president as well as by several religious organizations and stockholders in health care systems.

    The June 25 decision in King v. Burwell said that “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” and upheld the federal tax breaks that have made it possible for an estimated

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    Keeping Internet open, expanding broadband to all are FCC chief’s goals

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – The U.S. bishops have long championed the concept of an open Internet, where all legal content can be posted without some having to be charged more than others, and where those surfing the Web have equal access to all content, without someone else deciding what they can and cannot see – with a price tag sometimes attached to that as well.

    Tom Wheeler, Federal Communications Commission chairman, champions that concept as well.

    In a June 26 address

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    Nebraska Legislature passes repeal of death penalty

    LINCOLN, Neb. (CNS) – The Nebraska Legislature May 20 passed a measure to repeal the death penalty with enough votes to override Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts’ promised veto.

    Members of the unicameral body gave final approval to the bill with a 32-15 vote.

    At a news conference a week earlier, Archbishop George J. Lucas of Omaha joined about 15 religious leaders, priests and women religious in calling for an end to the death penalty in the state.

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