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Papal All Souls’ Day Mass will be at cemetery for American war dead

October 31, 2017 CNA Daily News 0

Albano Laziale, Italy, Nov 1, 2017 / 12:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis will visit on Thursday an Italian cemetery for American personnel killed in World War II, where he will say Mass for All Souls’ Day.

The Pope’s Nov. 2 Mass will be held at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial in Nettuno, a little more than 20 miles south of Albano Laziale.

Cemetery Superintendent Melanie Resto said that for Francis to choose to commemorate the fallen soldiers at the cemetery is “the biggest honor I can imagine.”

“We didn’t expect the Pope, but it is a great honor,” she added.

Pope Francis “will be here to pray for the service members, not only the service members here, but all those who have died in wars.”

According to Resto, the cemetery is visited every week by family members of the soldiers whose bodies are buried there.

It is open every day, except Christmas and New Years Day. Staff are available to answer questions and to escort relatives to grave sites.

Rasto said many of the cemetery staff have been employeed at the memorial for more than 25 years; there are already three employees whose fathers worked on the grounds before them. They feel that “it’s an honor to work here,” she said, “and we’re proud to have them.”

The Sicily-Rome American Cemetery, dedicated in 1956, covers 77 acres, and 7,860 servicemen are buried there. In a chapel on the grounds are the names of 3,095 who were missing in action.

Most of those who are buried in the Nettuno cemetery died in the liberation of Sicily, the landings at Salerno and Anzio, and in air and naval support of these operations in 1943 and 1944.

In recent tradition, the Popes have said an All Souls’ Day Mass at Rome’s Campo Verano cemetery, founded in the 19th century.

Pope Francis did this the first three years of his pontificate, and in 2016 said an All Souls’ Day Mass at Rome’s Prima Porta Cemetery.


Material from EWTN News Nightly was used in this report.


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Bishop calls on Congress to consider tax reform’s impact on ‘the least of these’

October 31, 2017 CNA Daily News 0

Washington D.C., Oct 31, 2017 / 07:30 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- With House lawmakers set to release their tax reform bill on November 1, one U.S. bishop has laid out moral principles encouraging Congress to care for the poor, families, and the common good.

“You are urged to recognize the critical obligation of creating a just framework aimed at the economic security of all people, especially the least of these,” wrote Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida in a letter addressed to Congress.

The letter outlines moral principles to be considered alongside the “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code,” the Trump administration’s template for rewriting and simplifying federal taxes.

“Care for the poor” is first among the bishop’s principles, which also include avoiding cuts to poverty programs to finance the tax reform.

Bishop Dewane, who serves as chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, cited the U.S. bishops’ commitment to evaluating the tax system in terms of its impact on the poor. He emphasised that the burden of tax reform should not fall upon those struggling to meet their daily needs.

One possible impact of the proposed tax changes could be a reduction in charitable giving, Dewane warned.

Although the simplification of the tax code in the “Unified Framework” retains tax incentives for charitable contributions, the elimination of the estate tax and increase in the overall standard deduction could reduce incentives to give, leaving the poor vulnerable, he said.

While particularly concerned about the reform’s potential impact on the poor, Dewane’s letter affirmed that some proposed tax changes in the “Unified Framework” could be instrumental in strengthening and encouraging families. An increase in the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit could be of particular benefit to families, especially if the “marriage penalty” in the existing tax credit is removed, he said.

The pending overhaul of the current tax system, if passed, is likely to leave a lasting impact on U.S. tax revenues and public spending for years to come. The U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development seeks to ensure that these changes secure a positive future for the poor and for families, DeWane said.

Quoting the “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church,” Bishop Dewane’s letter reminded lawmakers that “the goal to be sought is public financing that is itself capable of becoming an instrument of development and solidarity.”



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This Native American is officially on the path to sainthood

October 31, 2017 CNA Daily News 0

Rapid City, S.D., Oct 31, 2017 / 06:57 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Lakota medicine man turned Catholic catechist Nicholas Black Elk has begun the path to potential canonization with a Mass in South Dakota opening his cause for sainthood.

“From a very young age, there was an openness to the Spirit of God in his life,” Bishop Robert Gruss of Rapid City, S.D. said at an Oct. 21 Mass. “God used a personal invitation from a Jesuit priest to lead this child of God, Black Elk, down a new path to becoming this great disciple in the Catholic faith for the Lakota people.”

The Mass, which opened Black Elk’s cause for canonization, was celebrated at Holy Rosary Church near Pine Ridge, S.D. Family members of Black Elk were in attendance.

“For 50 years, Black Elk lived this mission in leading others to Christ,” said the bishop, crediting his love for God and Sacred Scripture for motivating him to become a catechist. In that role, he brought hundreds of people to the Catholic faith.

The bishop cited Black Elk’s own words from his missionary letter: “I spoke mainly on Jesus – when he was on earth, the teachings and his sufferings. I myself, do a lot of these things. I suffer, and I try to teach my people the things that I wanted them to learn.”

If Black Elk is canonized, he will be the first official saint from the Diocese of Rapid City, according to his biography on the diocese website.

He was born sometime between 1858 and 1866. Like many of his ancestors, he served as a medicine man, which combined the roles of medical doctor, spiritual adviser and counselor.

Despite the promises of the Great Sioux Treaty of 1868, gold-seeking settlers and prospectors began moving into Dakota Territory in 1874. This led to the Great Sioux War of 1876-77. Black Elk was at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876.

The following year, he joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, which toured Europe, including a performance before Queen Victoria. Black Elk continued to tour the continent with another Wild West show, encountering the cultures of England, France, Germany and Italy. He learned to speak some English and returned to the U.S. in 1889.

In 1890, he was injured at the Wounded Knee Massacre, where a bullet grazed his thigh.

Two years later, he married Katie War Bonnet. They had three children. After she converted to Catholicism, all three children were baptized.

The year after she died, Black Elk converted to Catholicism and was baptized on Dec. 6, 1904, the Feast of St. Nicholas. He took Nicholas as his baptismal name because he admired the saint’s generosity.

He married again in 1905. His second wife, Anna Brings White, was a widow with two children. They had three children together and she passed away in 1941.

The practice in the Diocese of Rapid City was for Jesuit priests to select Lakota Catholic men to teach the faith as catechists. They taught the faith, prayed and prepared converts in the Lakota language, traveling by foot or by horseback until automobiles became available.

Black Elk became a catechist in 1907, chosen for his enthusiasm and his excellent memory for learning Scripture and Church teaching. His work brought more than 400 people into the Catholic Church.

The medicine man became prominent through “Black Elk Speaks,” John G. Neihart’s biographical work. The work covers his Lakota upbringing, though not his adulthood as a Christian.

Black Elk passed away Aug. 19, 1950 at Pine Ridge.

Bishop Gruss reflected on the possible saint’s life.

“He embraced the mission to which he had been called – to help others live in the balance of the Lakota and Catholic culture leading to a deeper life in Jesus,” the bishop continued. “He melded whatever he could from his Lakota culture into his Christian life. This enculturation can always reveal something of the true nature and holiness of God.”

“He challenged people to renew themselves, to seek this life that Christ offers them,” he said.

“Of course, Christ’s work is never done,” said the bishop, adding that all Christians have been called into the missionary field.

“Our baptism leads us there. Like Black Elk, if we are docile to the Lord’s will, devoting our lives to Him, we will be out working for His Kingdom of mercy, love, and peace.”

Bishop Gruss stressed the need to continue to gather more information and testimony about the life of Black Elk and to pray that his cause merits advancement.

Bill White of Porcupine, S.D., is the diocesan postulator for the cause. He is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation. White is being assisted by Fr. Joe Daoust, S.J., of Pine Ridge.

Deacon Ben Black Bear from St. Francis Mission is translating some of Black Elk’s writings from the Lakota language to English, the diocese said.



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French court orders cross removed from JPII statue

October 31, 2017 CNA Daily News 1

Ploërmel, France, Oct 31, 2017 / 06:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- France’s top administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat has ordered a cross to be removed from a statue of Pope Saint John Paul II in Ploërmel, a small city in France’s Brittany region.

The statue, nearly 25 feet tall, portrays Pope Saint John Paul II praying beneath an arch adorned with a cross. The memorial was erected in Ploërmel in 2006.


Please help french people who are facing to the John-Paul II cross dismantling at #Ploermel village
Large RT and forward to media

— co??tehe?se (@CourteheuseR) October 29, 2017


The court order decision provoked a strong response from the late pontiff’s native Poland.

Poland’ prime minister, Beata Szydlo, offered to have the statue relocated to Poland, to save the statue from “the dictates of political correctness” and “secularization of the state.”

“Our great Pole, a great European, is a symbol of a Christian, united Europe,” she said, according to the Telegraph.

Since its arrival, the statue has been a source of controversy, drawing some criticism from locals and the secularist National Federation of Free Thought, which campaigned for the statue’s removal.

The court stated that the cross’ “presence in a public location is contrary to the law”, Le Point reported.  

Prime Minister Szydlo responded that religious censorship is undermining the values of Europe and is a nuisance to Europeans. Secularization and the dictatorship of political correctness is “alien to our culture, which leads to terrorizing Europeans in their everyday life,” she said.

The ruling has also received backlash on Twitter, where people have been protesting the court’s decision by using the hashtag #montretacroix (show your cross). France’s conservative parties have decried the decision, labeling the ruling as “madness” and “destructive to the country’s history.”

Patrick Le Diffon, the mayor of Ploërmel, called the statue a work of art and opposed its dismantling. However, the mayor said he would not like to start a religious battle and mentioned the possibility of bypassing the problem by selling the public land to a private investor.



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Catholic group removed from Reformation celebration in Brussels

October 31, 2017 CNA Daily News 7

Brussels, Belgium, Oct 31, 2017 / 04:22 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A group of Catholics who were reciting the rosary were removed Saturday from the Brussels cathedral  on the grounds that they were disturbing a service celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

The United Protestant Church in Belgium was hosting the event with the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting the 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg Castle – a gesture which led to Luther’s eventual schism from the Catholic Church.

Steven Fuit, president of the UPCB, spoke at the event, saying it was an ecumenical service and noting that “our unity essentially derives from respecting differences.”

“Our individuality and our unity consist not in the passive acceptance of diversity,” Fuit said, according to the Catholic Herald.

“Without the other who is different, who thinks otherwise, who does otherwise, I do not exist, I am nothing. Differences are an inherent part of unity,” he continued.

However, approximately a dozen young Catholics made an appearance during the commemoration and began to recite the rosary with linked arms during the ceremony.

Police ultimately removed the group from the cathedral, as shown on a YouTube video.

The group of Catholics allegedly handed out a leaflet calling the ceremony a “profanation,” according to Media-Presse-Info, a French news website.

“Our Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula is a Catholic building built by our fathers to be a House of God, for the celebration of holy Mass, for the praise of God and the saints,” read the leaflet.

“Indeed, the so-called Reformation was really a revolt: under the pretext of combatting abuses, Luther rebelled against the divine authority of the Catholic Church, denied numerous Truths of the Faith, abolished the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments, rejected the necessity of good works and the practice of Christian virtues. Finally, he attacked the veneration of the Virgin Mary and the saints, the religious life and monastic vows,” the leaflet continued.

“This terrible revolution was a great tragedy for Christian society and for the salvation of souls. And the Lutheran errors are still heresies today because the Truth is eternal.”


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Bishop appointed for Canada’s Chaldean eparchy

October 31, 2017 CNA Daily News 2

Toronto, Canada, Oct 31, 2017 / 12:17 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Bishop Bawai Soro was on Tuesday appointed Bishop of the Chaldean Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto, which serves Canada’s estimated 40,000 Chaldean Catholics.

The Oct. 31 appointment fills the vacancy left by August’s transfer of Bishop Emmanuel Shaleta to the Chaldean Eparchy of Saint Peter the Apostle of San Diego.

Bishop Soro was born in 1954 in Kirkuk, Iraq, and was baptized into the Assyrian Church of the East, a non-Chalcedonian Church based in northen Iraq. His family emigrated to Lebanon in 1973, and then to the US in 1976.

He was ordained a deacon in the Assyrian Church of the East in 1973, a priest in 1982, and a bishop in 1984. Whila a priest he served as pastor of a parish in Toronto, and was bishop of the Assyrian eparchies of San José and Seattle.

He obtained a master’s degree in theology from the Catholic University of America in 1992, and a doctorate from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in 2002. While a bishop, he was actively involved in ecumenical dialogue between the Assyrian Church of the East and the Catholic Church.

Bishop Soro was received into communion with the Catholic Church in 2008, along with nearly 1,000 families of his Church.

He was received into the Chaldean Catholic Church, which is the Catholic analogue to the Assyrian Church of the East. Both Churches use the East Syrian rite. They are both derived from the Church of the East, a non-Chalcedonian Church which experienced a schism in 1552.

In 2014 he was appointed protosyncellus, or vicar general, of the Chaldean Eparchy of Saint Peter the Apostle of San Diego.

Bishop Soro has been outspoken about the persecution of Christians in his native Iraq, and has applauded their perseverance.

In June, he told CNA that “the story of suffering of Iraqi Christians is an ongoing phenomenon.” He reflected on his family’s perseverance in the face of the Ottoman’s Assyrian genocide, saying that “if my grandparents survived this difficulty and were able to hand their faith to the next generations, this suffering generation will do the same.”

The Chaldean Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto was established in 2011. It consists of 10 parishes and missions, and is served by 10 priests and two deacons.