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Pope Francis joins prayers for victims of mass shootings

Posted August 16, 2019 at 12:00 am

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Pope Francis joined Catholic Church leaders expressing sorrow after back-to-back mass shootings in the United States left at least 31 dead and dozens injured in Texas and Ohio Aug. 3 and 4.  

After the prayer called the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square on Aug. 4, the pope said he wanted to convey his spiritual closeness to the victims, the wounded and the families affected by the attacks. He also included those who died a weekend earlier during a shooting at a festival in Gilroy, California.  

“I am spiritually close to the victims of the episodes of violence that these days have bloodied Texas, California and Ohio, in the United States, affecting defenseless people,” he said.  

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    Death penalty reinstatement brings unwelcome news

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – The July 25 announcement by the Justice Department that it is reinstating the federal death penalty for the first time in 16 years was unwelcome news for Catholic leaders who have advocated against capital punishment.  

    “The United States’ death penalty system is tragically flawed. Resuming federal executions – especially by an administration that identifies itself as ‘pro-life’ – is wrongheaded and unconscionable,” said Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, executive director of Catholic Mobilizing Network, a group that champions restorative justice

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    ‘Dangerous’ bill on seal of confession withdrawn before key hearing

    LOS ANGELES (CNS) – In a last-minute twist, a California bill that would have required priests to break the sacramental seal of confession was shelved by its sponsor amid a remarkable grassroots campaign mounted by the state’s Catholics, members of other faith groups, and religious liberty advocates from across the country.

    S.B. Bill 360 was withdrawn the day before a scheduled July 9 hearing in the California Assembly Public Safety Committee, effectively removing it from any further consideration this year.

    “S.B. 360 was a dangerous piece of legislation,” said Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, who

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    Smithsonian inquiring about drawings made by children at Catholic center

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – The Smithsonian Museum of American History is looking at the possibility of acquiring for its collection drawings made by children ages 10 and 11 at a Catholic Charities center in Texas, which may depict their stay at federal detention centers for immigrants near the border.  

    In early July, news outlets circulated three drawings of stick figures the children made at a Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley “respite center,” which seem as if they’re depicting their lives

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    With miracle confirmed in Sheen cause, plans for beatification can begin

    PEORIA, Ill. (CNS) – With “overwhelming joy,” Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria announced July 6 that Pope Francis had approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. 

    “Now that the miracle has been confirmed by Pope Francis, the Diocese of Peoria can formally begin planning for the beatification of Archbishop Sheen, which will take place in Peoria,” according to a news release issued by the Diocese of Peoria early Saturday morning. 

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    U.S. bishops join pope reacting to photos of drowned migrant father, child

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – U.S. bishops joined Pope Francis in expressing sadness after seeing photos of the lifeless bodies of a migrant father and his daughter who drowned near the U.S. border with Mexico.  

    “This image cries to heaven for justice. This image silences politics. Who can look on this picture and not see the results of the failures of all of us to find a humane and just solution to the immigration crisis?” the bishops said in a June 26 statement.  

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    U.S. bishops take action to respond to church abuse crisis

    BALTIMORE (CNS)  – During the June 11-13 spring assembly of the U.S. bishops in Baltimore, it was clear the bishops had to respond to the sexual abuse crisis in the church  and on the last day of their gathering they approved a series of procedures to begin this process.

    On June 13, they voted to implement the document “Vos Estis Lux Mundi” (“You are the light of the world”), issued by Pope Francis in May to help the Catholic Church safeguard its members from abuse and hold its leaders accountable.

    The bishops also approved

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    U.S. bishops favor new rules on sexual abuse reporting

    WASHINGTON (CNS)  – U.S. church leaders welcomed the norms issued by Pope Francis on May 9 giving clear direction to the global Catholic Church about reporting abuse and holding church leaders accountable, saying it confirms what they already have in place and also gives them a way forward.

    The document  which among other things, requires all Catholic priests and women religious to report sexual abuse by clergy and church leaders and provides whistleblower protection for those making allegations  was described as a “blessing that will empower the church everywhere to bring predators to justice,”

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    Church across street from Charlotte campus shooting

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CNS) – People gathered to pray at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Charlotte the day after a student opened fire April 30 in a classroom at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, which killed two people and wounded four others.

    “Our hearts are broken, and our security shaken,” said Father Patrick Winslow, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Church during the May 1 daily Mass about the shooting that took place at the campus just across the street.

    The Catholic parish of 2,300 families serves the university’s student population through the Catholic campus ministry office of the Charlotte Diocese.

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    World Youth Day 2019

    PANAMA CITY (CNS) – Just before leaving the physical and human warmth of Panama Jan. 27, Pope Francis stopped to thank the thousands of official volunteers, young and old, gathered at the capital city’s Rommel Fernandez Stadium to tell them that they had just participated in an event similar to one that took place early in Christianity.  

    In their case, they didn’t just multiply food, he said.

    “You could have easily chosen to do other things, but you wanted to be involved, to give your best to

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    Covington high school incident: Investigation begins, discussion continues

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – Days after the now-famous exchange took place between Covington Catholic High School students and a Native American tribal leader in Washington, the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, announced it would begin a third-party investigation into what happened at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial following the annual March for Life on Jan. 18.  

    “This is a very serious matter that has already permanently altered the lives of many people. It is important for us to gather

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    Bishops attend Spirit-filled retreat

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – Although the weeklong retreat for U.S. Catholic bishops emphasized quiet reflection, several bishops spoke out on social media during the retreat and after it wrapped up Jan. 8 with positive reaction about it and to give shoutouts to the retreat leader, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, who has preached to popes and top officials of the Roman Curia for nearly 40 years.

    One bishop said listening to Father Cantalamessa was akin to being in the presence of the early Christian theologians. “Clear, intensely filled with the Holy Spirit, and all for the Kingdom of God,”

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    Immigration battles continue as 2018 comes to an end

    By Rhina Guidos

    Catholic News Service

    WASHINGTON – The year may be coming to an end but the battles on the immigration front promise to continue well into 2019 and beyond.

    “On immigration, there is no rest for the weary with this administration,” said Kevin Appleby, senior director of international migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies in New York.

    By far, the most dramatic immigration development of 2018 took place around summer when then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new policy that resulted in separating children from parents or other

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    Church marred by allegations of abuse

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – 2018 will no doubt be remembered as a dark time for the U.S. Catholic Church.

    Catholics felt betrayed by church leaders accused of sexual misconduct and cover-up revealed this summer and this cloud still hung over the church at the year’s end.

    In June, allegations were made against then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, accused of sexually abusing a minor almost 50 years ago and having sexual contact with seminarians while he was a bishop in New Jersey.

    A month later, Pope Francis accepted Archbishop McCarrick’s resignation from the College

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    Supreme Court won’t hear states’ appeals

    Staff, wire reports

    One of the state’s leading pro-life supporters expressed disappointment with a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court declining to hear the appeals of Louisiana and Kansas, who were challenging lower courts’ decisions to prevent the states from excluding Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid contractor, but expressed optimism regarding future cases.

    The court issued the 6-3 order in the cases of Andersen v. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri and Gee v. Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast on Dec. 10.

    The three justices who dissented were Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch. New Supreme

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    Study shows young adults leaving church start down that path at age 13

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. (CNS) – To find Catholics who have left the church, start looking at the faces in the pews, according to a recent report.

    A 2018 study on young adults leaving the Catholic Church found people stopped identifying as Catholics at a median age of 13, long before they ceased attending a parish. The report adds to the picture of a church that more people are leaving and that fewer ever want to return.

    At a Nov. 29 symposium prior to the start of the Santa Clara Faith Formation Conference, researchers from St. Mary’s

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    Cardinal says he leaves USCCB assembly more hopeful than when it started

    BALTIMORE (CNS) – The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said he was leaving the bishops’ fall general assembly Nov. 14 more hopeful than when the meeting began two days earlier.  

    Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said in remarks closing the assembly that his hope was primarily grounded in Christ as well as realizing that the body of bishops was on the road to implementing protocols to boost the accountability of bishops to laypeople

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    Shooting victims mourned; faith, civic leaders vow to fight hate, violence

    PITTSBURGH – Thousands of people gathered outside and inside the Sailors and Soldiers Memorial Hall of the University of Pittsburgh Oct. 28 at an interfaith service to mourn the victims of the horrific shooting a day earlier at the Tree of Life synagogue.  

    A Baptist gospel choir opened the service, which was organized under the banner “Stronger Together.” Christian and Muslim clergy were among those who made remarks, but the leaders of the service were rabbis representing the three Jewish congregations

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    Day of the Dead has various cultural traditions

    Many Catholics in the Diocese of Baton Rouge are finalizing preparations to visit their departed loved ones at cemeteries through southeastern Louisiana.

    Visiting cemeteries on All Saints’ Day is a time-honored tradition that spans generations. Who among us could ever forget our mothers loading us into the family jalopy, the normal malodorous smell of melted candy and fast food wrappers graced by the fragrance of freshly cut flowers, and going to visit gravesites of distance relatives we never even knew?

    Those customs differ worldwide.

    The Day of the Dead, or Dide de los Muertosas, is

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    A special Mass marking 165 years of Catholic education in the city of Plaquemine was celebrated at St. John the Evangelist Church in Plaquemine on Sept. 23. Concelebrating the Mass were, from left, Deacon Alfred Ricard, pastor Father Greg Daigle, Msgr. Earl Gauthreaux and Father Cleo Milano, former pastor of St. John. Msgr. Gauthreaux is a native of Plaquemine and attended St. John. He serves in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.  Photo provided by Donna Carville 


    U.S. bishops find ‘honest, hopeful’ young adults at V Encuentro

    GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) – When Sister Lucero Espitia looked around the ballroom, she saw other people like herself. 

    While the Disciple of Jesus sister from Aguascalientes, Mexico, didn’t see many other habited consecrated women religious like herself, she did see some 750 other Catholic young adults like herself buzzing with excitement as they sat down for dinner with a cross section of the 150 bishops attending the V Encuentro, or National Fifth Encuentro, in Grapevine. 

    Sharing her perspective

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    Church plans third-party abuse reporting system

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – Pledging to “heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us,” the U.S. bishops’ Administrative Committee Sept. 19 outlined actions to address the abuse crisis, including approving the establishment of a third-party confidential reporting system for claims of any abuse by bishops.

    It also instructed the U.S. bishops’ canonical affairs committee to develop proposals for policies addressing restrictions on bishops who were removed or resigned because of allegations of abuse of minors or adults.

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    Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

    Pilgrims pray in front of a statue of Mary on Apparition Hill in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in 2011. CNS photo | Paul Haring

    WARSAW, Poland (CNS) – The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including more Masses in different languages and facilities for young pilgrims who flock to the site of the alleged Marian apparitions.

    “Medjugorje represents Europe’s spiritual

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    Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

    Oliver Kelly, age 1, cries as he is carried off a sheriff’s airboat in Leland, North Carolina, during his Sept. 17 rescue from rising floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. CNS photo

    RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) – The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. 14. And although the storm was downgraded from a hurricane to a Category 1 tropical storm, it still

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    Church urged to address its leaders’ ‘moral failures of judgment’

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick “will rightly face” a Vatican canonical process regarding sexual abuse allegations against him, but the U.S. Catholic Church must take steps to respond to church leaders’ “moral failures of judgment,” said the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    The accusations against Archbishop McCarrick, a former cardinal and retired archbishop of Washington, D.C., “reveal a grievous moral failure within the church,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. 

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    Cuomo, politician with complicated relationship with church, dies

    WASHINGTON (CNS) – While many tributes to former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo reference the impact of his 1984 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, for many Catholics, it was a different speech the same year that defined his political legacy.

    Cuomo, who died Jan. 1 at age 82, served three terms as governor and was sought after as a possible candidate for president, though he never took the plunge.

    Those two 1984 speeches may well have helped define both why

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