Food cannot be used as 'bargaining chip,' Pope says (CNS) “We must stop treating food, which is a fundamental good for all, as a bargaining chip for a few,” Pope Francis wrote in a Spanish-language message for the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste.
“Both food loss and food waste are truly deplorable events because they divide humanity between those who have too much and those who lack the essentials; because they increase inequalities, generate injustice and deny the poor what they need to live in dignity,” he added.
Social programs should assist families, not supplant them, Vatican diplomat says at UN (Holy See Mission) Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, apostolic nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, addressed a UN meeting on social development on September 29.
“The family provides the best environment for children’s development, with mothers and fathers offering unique and irreplaceable contributions,” he said. “The family is also the first, and sometimes only, support for those in vulnerable situations, especially persons with disabilities and the elderly. Social protection programs should assist families in their role in caring for the weakest, not supplant them.”
Not 'good guys and bad guys': Pope describes war as 'imperialisms in conflict,' with Ukraine as victim (La Civiltà Cattolica) The Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica has published a transcript of a September 15 conversation between Pope Francis and members of the Society of Jesus. The conversation took place during the Pontiff’s apostolic journey to Kazakhstan.
Asked, “How do you see the geopolitical situation we are experiencing?”, he replied, “There is a war going on and I think it is a mistake to think that this is a cowboy movie where there are good guys and bad guys.”
“The victim of this conflict is Ukraine,” he continued. “A head of state, in December last year, came to tell me that he was very concerned because NATO had gone barking at the gates of Russia ... He expressed fear that this would provoke a war, and this broke out two months later. So, one cannot be simplistic in reasoning about the causes of the conflict. I see imperialisms in conflict.”
Cardinal Zen trial adjourned for a month (Pillar) The trial of Cardinal Joseph Zen, the retired bishop of Hong Kong, has been adjourned until October 26, following a ruling by Principal Magistrate Ada Yim that there is enough evidence to try him and the other five defendants. The six are accused of a failing to register a fund that received donations to assist pro-democracy protesters.
Citing 'my Church,' President Biden criticizes proposed 15-week abortion ban (The Hill) Stating that “my Church doesn’t even make that argument now,” President Biden blasted Sen. Lindsey Graham’s proposal for a federal ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has welcomed Sen. Graham’s bill as an incremental step toward legislation that protects every human life. “Although we will never cease working for laws that protect human life from its beginning and supporting mothers in need, we think that this proposed legislation is a place to begin uniting Americans regardless of their views on abortion,” said Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
Bishops welcome presidential refugee cap of 125,000 over next year (USCCB) President Biden has set a refugee cap of 125,000 for fiscal year 2022-23—the same figure he set in 2021-22.
Despite that cap, the United States admitted fewer than 20,000 refugees in 2021-22, excluding Afghans and Ukrainians, who have been admitted to the US under a separate program.
“This is an ambitious and worthwhile goal for our nation, which has benefitted from many blessings throughout its history, including the generations of refugees who have already enriched American communities,” said Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville of Washington, chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Migration. “My brother bishops and I remain fully committed to our Church’s centuries-old tradition of welcoming newcomers in this country, especially those fleeing the devastations of war, violence, persecution, political instability, and natural disasters.”
Most frequently taught NFP methods in diocesan programs: Billings, Marquette, CCL (USCCB) On September 28, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops released its 2021 report on diocesan natural family planning programs.
The most frequently used methods currently taught in diocesan programs are the Billings Ovulation Method, the Marquette Method, and the Couple to Couple League’s method. Of the 22 dioceses that helped prepare the report, four require an NFP course in marriage preparation.
Science needs ethicists, more open debate, some say at Vatican conference (CNS) The Pontifical Academy for Life organized a two-day conference devoted to “The Ethics of Engineering Life.”
“Big leaps towards applying engineering principles to clinics and to restore body functions are provided by the development of gene-based and cell-based therapies,” the Academy said in its overview of the conference. “Successful attempts include the restoration of vision, the control of metabolic disorders, or the growth of tissues and organs for replacement.”
“While in the long run such systems engineering approaches will help to cure pertinent diseases, methods to modify, edit, correct and/or complement the genome of patients can be also used to improve a person’s lifestyle, or be even misused in various ways,” the Academy added.
Theme announced for Pope's message for World Communications Day: 'Speak with the heart' (Vatican Press Office) “Speak with the heart: Veritatem facientes in caritate [doing the truth in charity]” is the theme for the Pope’s message for the 2023 World Communications Day (background).
“In a time characterized – also in ecclesial life – by polarization and heated debates that exacerbate tempers, we are invited to go against the grain,” the Vatican press office commented. “We must not fear to state the at times uncomfortable truth that finds its foundation in the Gospel, but we must not separate this proclamation from a style of mercy, of sincere participation in the joys and sufferings of people of our time, as the Gospel page that narrates the dialogue between the mysterious wayfarer and the disciples of Emmaus teaches us in a sublime way.”
Jesus is the best, most faithful friend a person can have, Pope says (CNS) Continuing his weekly catechesis on discernment, Pope Francis devoted his September 28 general audience to “the elements of discernment: familiarity with the Lord.”
“Being in prayer means opening my heart to Jesus, drawing close to Jesus, allowing Jesus to enter into my heart and making us feel His presence,” the Pope said. “And there we can discern when it is Jesus and when it is us with our thoughts, that so many times are far from what Jesus wants. Let us ask for this grace: to live a relationship of friendship with the Lord, as a friend speaks to a friend.”
Head of Vatican Synod office: 'Let us trust in our people' (National Catholic Reporter) Referring to homosexual couples and Catholics who have remarried outside the Church, Cardinal Mario Grech, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, said, “What has the Church to fear if these two groups within the faithful are given the opportunity to express their intimate sense of spiritual realities which they experience? Might this be an opportunity for the Church to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking through them also?”
“When we say that we are listening to the others, we are also saying that we are listening to the Holy Spirit, and for me, this is something sacred and it was about time that we came around to recognize this wealth, this richness in the Church,” he added.
The prelate made his remarks during a recent address to the Leadership Roundtable’s 2022 Catholic Partnership Summit.
Vatican confirms sanctions on Nobel-laureate bishop (Pillar) The Vatican has confirmed that sanctions were imposed on Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo in 2019, after he was charged with multiple instances of sexual abuse.
Bishop Belo, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for his work on behalf of human rights in East Timor, resigned from his post in the Dili diocese in 2002, at the age of 54, citing health reasons. He has since lived in Portugal.
The Vatican evidently imposed disciplinary sanctions on Bishop Belo—without any public announcement—sometime after the eruption of a worldwide scandal over revelations that leading Church officials had failed to take action on abuse complaints against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
Chief Rabbi of Rome assesses Jewish-Vatican relations (The Tablet) Riccardo Di Segni, the co-author of this article, has been Chief Rabbi of Rome since 2001. “A comparison with the past is always necessary, not only because it shows progress, but it reminds us that the confrontation between two worlds is always difficult, regardless of the time,” he concludes.
Article examines clergy-penitent privilege (AP) The Associated Press examines state legislation on the clergy-penitent privilege, which recognizes the confidentiality of the Sacrament of Penance. The article’s tone is tendentious: “This loophole has resulted in an unknown number of predators being allowed to continue abusing children for years despite having confessed the behavior to religious officials.”
Nicaragua's Ortega describes Church as 'perfect tyranny' (France24) Lashing out at Church leaders who have protested the arrest of Bishop Rolando Álvarez, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega denounced the Catholic Church as “a perfect tyranny.”
In an angry denunciation of the Church, Ortega said that the Catholic clerics in Nicaragua are “coup plotters,” who are agents of “American imperialism.”
Ortega—whose authoritarian rule has frequently put him into conflict with the Nicaraguan hierarchy—still identifies himself as a Catholic.
USCCB action alert: 'Urge HHS to do no harm to life and liberty' (USCCB) The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed a regulation that “could function as both an abortion mandate and a gender transition procedure mandate,” the US Conference of Catholic Bishops warns.
Catholics are asked to “join the USCCB in encouraging the HHS to clarify that ‘discrimination on the basis of sex’ is not an abortion mandate, and that health care workers and medical facilities must be free to conscientiously object to gender transition procedures.”
Ukrainian Catholic leader rues 'truly hellish day' (Archeparchy of Philadelphia) Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, said on September 27 that “summarizing this day, we can say that it was truly hellish for Ukraine.”
“In just one day, Russia hit Ukraine with nine cruise missiles, made 22 airstrikes, and carried 90 attacks by rocket and jet systems,” he continued. “More than 50 settlements, cities, and villages of Ukraine were affected by Russian shelling.”
He added, “Despite the great pains, the great tension, and the deep wounds that Ukraine has experienced and is experiencing, in particular in the last day, we can still say today: Ukraine is standing! Ukraine is fighting! Ukraine is praying!”
Pittsburgh diocese discourages attendance at traditionalist conference (Pillar) The Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has announced that it “does not support, endorse, or encourage people to attend” a Catholic Identity Conference taking place in the city this weekend.
The Catholic Identity Conference will feature a lineup of prominent traditionalist Catholics, including Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano and Bishop Athanasius Schneider. Organizers have announced that at a press conference, they will “present articles of resistance against the Vatican and to the pontificate of Pope Francis.”