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Hartford archdiocese, Knights of Columbus partner to aid Islamic State victims

April 18, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Hartford, Conn., Apr 18, 2018 / 10:06 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In a partnership with the Knights of Columbus, Catholics in the Archdiocese of Hartford are fundraising money to aid the religious minorities persecuted by the Islamic State.

The Knights have supplied olive wood solidarity crosses, manufactured in the Middle East, to raise financial support for Christian towns in Iraq and Syria.

Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson applauded the cooperation of the Hartford archdiocese, particularly its high schools.

“We are very grateful to the Archdiocese of Hartford for its support of those who have been persecuted for their faith in the Middle East, and we have been truly inspired by these high school students who have taken time and energy to learn about this important issue and raise money to help,” he said in an April 15 statement.

All nine of Hartford’s Catholic high schools have sought to educate their students on Islamic State terrorism and the victims involved. Each school has also adopted a town in the Middle East to keep within their prayers.

At an April 15 Mass at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Catholic leaders applauded the project on its efforts to promote Catholic solidarity and preserve Christian culture. In his homily, Bishop Bawair Soro of the Chaldean Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto expressed his gratitude.

“The message that I have for the Knights of Columbus is one of admiration, that you are amazing. We thank you,” the bishop said.

“We are encouraged by your model, please continue. I know many of the good things that have been done have been influencing us and I know that what you see publicly is only 10 percent of the things that the Knights have been doing. We pray that this will continue and God bless you all.”  

A question-and-answer session followed the Mass. In attendance were Stephen Rasche, Counsel to Chaldean Archeparchy of Erbil; Bishop Soro; Archbishop Leonard Blair of Harford; and Andrew Walther, the Knights of Columbus’ vice president for communications and strategic planning.

“Our mission is to preserve the word and example of Christ in the Middle East, and this we are committed to do, whatever the cost,” said Rasche. “In this, we are grateful for the support and solidarity we have received from our brothers and sisters in Connecticut and elsewhere.”

In the past, the Knights have advocated for projects to aid Middle Eastern Christians. Since 2014, the organization has contributed $19 million to support the victims of the Islamic State. In 2016, the Knights of Columbus  campaigned for the U.S. Congress and Department of State to recognize the persecutions as an act of genocide.


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Irish archbishop: The Christian vision of family is attainable

April 18, 2018 CNA Daily News 1

Rome, Italy, Apr 18, 2018 / 11:53 am (CNA/EWTN News).- One of the leading organizers of this year’s World Meeting of Families has said the gathering aims to show the world that living the Christian ideal of marriage and family life is not impossible, but is something realistic that can be attained.

“Our message about marriage and family, about fidelity, that God loves you personally, that human life is sacred from the first moment of conception until the moment of death, that chastity is possible for our young people,” is a message often seen as out-of-date, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh said.

Yet these messages “are achievable for people today,” he said.

“Sometimes people present the Church as being completely out of touch, but actually the Church is hugely in touch. It just wants to keep challenging people to the joy of the Gospel.”

Archbishop Martin spoke to CNA April 18 about the upcoming World Meeting of Families, which is slated to take place in Dublin Aug. 21-26.

Pope Francis will be present at the event Aug. 25-26, where he will preside over the “festival of families” and the closing Mass.

The World Meeting of Families is meant to share “the idea that family is good news, that it is a joyful message, that family is possible,” he said.

We too often “forget the huge number of families who continue faithfully to try to live out a life of love and a life of understanding and commitment to one another in very difficult or challenging circumstances,” he said.

Families, he said, are the first place where people learn to go outside of themselves through compromise and sacrifice, which goes against the individualistic mentality of global society.

“Very few families can survive individualism,” he said, explaining that one’s approach to family life has to start from the perspective of love and joy, which are the heart of the Gospel.

This in turn raises questions about how much social, political and legislative support is available to families, and how challenges can arise if this support is not given.

“Why is it that so many young people will choose not to get married? Maybe because they can’t get a hold of a mortgage, or because the benefit system suits them better to live as single people rather than as a couple with their children. Why is it that legislation on issues like addictions, gambling, or a whole lot of areas where family life can be destroyed, why are these not priorities in social policy-making?”

So in addition to focusing on the Gospel vision of the family, the “harder edge” of the global gathering in August will focus on how families can be supported from all levels of the Church and of society.

Some 16,000 people have registered for the event, most of whom are from overseas, Martin said.

And as the date gets closer, organizers on the ground are starting to “ratchet up” the preparations at a faster pace.

“This is an opportunity for families to meet families from other parts of the world and to learn from each other and to share with one another how we do it; how do we actually survive as a family in this crazy, complicated world,” Martin said.

Excitement is building and Ireland is ready to give the pope and the world “a hundred thousands of welcomes,” he said, using a colloquial Irish saying.

Martin said the gathering will be a time for families to come together and share their experiences, their hopes, and their challenges, without sugar-coating anything.

Acknowledging that no family is perfect, “we’re not in any way trying to romanticize family love,” he said. Rather, the goal is to share the Christian vision of the family, based on hope and love, and to welcome families who are distant or who perhaps don’t feel welcome, he said.

“The word ‘welcome’ is important,” he said, adding that for him, it is sad to hear when people say that for whatever reason, they do not feel entirely welcome in the Church.

And this goes not only for “these neuralgic issues, for example LGBT people or people living in second unions … I’m talking about people who think the Church’s vision of the family is completely out of touch with reality,” Martin said.

“I would love to think that we can talk about ways of welcoming families, welcoming people who … feel that they don’t measure up, or feel that unless their family is perfect, that everyone in their family is living a perfectly holy life, that they are not welcome,” he said.

To this end, he pointed to Gaudete et exsultate, Pope Francis’ exhortation on the call to holiness in today’s world, saying example of holiness can be found in “your mom, your grandmother, your dad. People who struggled but lived as best they could a faithful life.”

“So I think that when we think about reaching out, sometimes we think they are people way out on the margins, but often they are people who are simply trying to struggle to live a good family life everyday and who feel that somehow the Church presents an impossible ideal.”


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Vatican reportedly rejects German bishops’ plan for intercommunion of spouses

April 18, 2018 CNA Daily News 6

Vatican City, Apr 18, 2018 / 10:58 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has reportedly rejected a plan approved by the German bishops’ conference to publish guidelines permitting non-Catholic spouses of Catholics to receive the Eucharist in some limited circumstances.

Austrian news site has reported that Vatican sources say the CDF, with papal approval, has suspended the German bishops’ proposed plan, and sources close to the congregation have confirmed this to CNA.

It is not clear whether the Vatican has asked the bishops’ conference to modify the contents of draft guidelines, whether they have suspended the development of a draft while the matter is considered further, or whether it has been entirely rejected.

In February, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising announced that the German bishops’ conference would publish a pastoral handout for married couples that allows Protestant spouses of Catholics “in individual cases” and “under certain conditions” to receive Holy Communion, provided they “affirm the Catholic faith in the Eucharist”.

The announcement was made “after intensive debate” at the conclusion of the general assembly of the German bishops’ conference, which was held Feb. 19 – 22 in the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt, and attended by 62 members of the bishops’ conference under the leadership of conference chairman Cardinal Marx.

Last month, seven German bishops sent a letter to the CDF and to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity asking for clarification on the matter. The signatories did not consult beforehand with Cardinal Marx.

The seven bishops asked whether the question of Holy Communion for Protestant spouses in interdenominational marriages can be decided on the level of a national bishops’ conference, or if rather, “a decision of the Universal Church” is required in the matter.

The letter was signed by Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Cologne, Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg, Bishop Gregor Hanke of Eichstätt, Bishop Konrad Zdarsa of Augsburg, Bishop Stefan Oster of Passau, Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, and Bishop Wolfgang Ipolt of Görlitz.

“From the view of the signatories, the goal in a question of such centrality to the Faith and the unity of the Church must be to avoid separate national paths and arrive at a globally unified, workable solution by way of an ecumenical dialogue,” the Archdiocese of Cologne told CNA Deutsch April 4.

The Code of Canon Law already provides that in the danger of death or if “some other grave necessity urges it,” Catholic ministers licitly administer penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick to Protestants “who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.”