Youngstown, Ohio, Apr 30, 2018 / 04:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., of Youngstown, Ohio has been diagnosed with a form of acute leukemia, the diocese announced Monday.
“He was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic on Sunday, Apr… […]
Washington D.C., Apr 30, 2018 / 03:32 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The U.S. State Department has removed the term “reproductive rights” from its annual human rights report, drawing praise from pro-life leaders who say that the phrase had become a t… […]
Denver, Colo., Apr 30, 2018 / 01:12 pm (CNA).- Monsignor Thomas Green, a priest of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., died peacefully on Saturday morning. He was 79 years old.
Monsignor Green was the Stephen Kuttner Distinguished Professor of Can… […]
Munich, Germany, Apr 30, 2018 / 01:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A recent decision by the government of Bavaria to mandate that a cross be displayed in all state buildings has garnered global attention, while prompting both criticism and praise from local Catholic bishops.
The requirement that every entrance to state buildings display up a Christian cross – though not necessarily in the form of a crucifix – was announced by the office of Markus Söder, Bavaria’s premier. The directive to hang the crosses by 1 June has sparked a public debate in Germany, tapping into deeper angst about culture, values and Christian roots in a country divided by questions of heritage, religion and identity.
The move has come under criticism from Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising, while being welcomed by Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Bavaria’s Regensburg diocese.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who as recently as 2015 asserted that crosses should be displayed in classrooms and courtrooms, roundly criticized the April decision to display them in public entranceways.
Speaking to Munich’s Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, the archbishop said that the cross is “a sign of opposition to violence, injustice, sin and death, but not a sign [of exclusion] against other people.” The cross can be misunderstood as purely a cultural symbol, he said, and thus misused by the state.
It is not up to the state to explain what a cross means, the Cardinal emphasized, saying that Bavaria’s government has triggered “division, unrest and adversity” with the move.
Bavarian Premier Markus Söder and other politicians of the state’s governing CSU party disagreed with Cardinal Marx’s interpretation of the government’s decision.
The accusation that the government would attempt to misappropriate the cross or designate it as a purely cultural symbol was flatly rejected by Söder, a Lutheran who hails from the Protestant region of Franconia in northern Bavaria. “Of course, the cross is primarily a religious symbol,” Söder told German news media. However, the premier continued, the cross, in the wider sense, also carries with it basic foundations of a secular state.
This aspect was also emphasized by Catholic commentator Birgit Kelle in an editorial for the newspaper Die Welt: “Every Muslim, every atheist, and every other believer can feel safe under this cross, which does not constitute a claim to power, but a commitment to treat each person equally and decently, regardless of their background, faith, ability, or gender.”
In a similar vein, Bishop Voderholzer of the Bavarian diocese of Regensburg asserted that: “the cross is the epitome of Western culture. It is the expression of a culture of love, compassion and affirmation of life. It belongs to the foundations of Europe.” Its public presence – which in traditionally Catholic Bavaria is near ubiquitous – should be seen as such, welcomed and appreciated, he said.
This is the reason, Voderholzer said, Christians have placed crosses atop the peaks of Bavarian mountains: “Not the national flag or other symbols of human rule, as others might have liked to see at other times, but the cross. It should be widely visible, the cross, the sign of salvation and life in which Christ is heaven and earth, God and reconciled people, victims and perpetrators.”
Mexico City, Mexico, Apr 30, 2018 / 11:20 am (ACI Prensa).- An 84-year-old priest of the Archdiocese of Mexico City was found dead in Cuernavaca, the capital of Mexico’s Morelos state, April 25.
Fr. Moisés Fabila Reyes had been kidnapped April 3. According to local media, his family had decided not to publicize the kidnapping, and to keep the Church out of the negotiations to free him.
Test showed that the priest died from a heart attack. He had health issues before the kidnapping, reports said, which were likely exacerbated by the conditions of his captivity.
Fr. Fabila entered the Conciliar Minor Seminary of Mexico at age 12. He was ordained a priest on June 29, 1961 in the Mexico City cathedral. Since 2001, he served as chaplain of the choir at the Guadalupe Basilica.
In a statement released April 26, the Archdiocese of Mexico City announced that Fr. Fabila’s body had been recovered the previous day.
The archdiocese said it shares in“the overwhelming pain of the relatives and friends of Father Moisés Fabila.”
“We lift up our prayers to God for the eternal rest of his soul, and that Our Lady of Guadalupe console them.”
The Mexican Bishops’ Conference also expressed “our profound solidarity with his relatives, parishioners, fellow canons of the basilica, as well as with the Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Aguiar Retes and the Rector of the National Basilica of Guadalupe, Msgr. Enrique Glennie Graue.”
“We implore the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe that, like her, we may always be faithful sowers of faith, hope and charity,” the conference concluded.
The announcement comes amid a wave of violence against priests in Mexico. Fr. Rubén Alcántara Díaz was found murdered April 18, and Fr. Juan Miguel Contreras was shot to death in his church April 20.
Another priest, Fr. Lucino Flores Sánchez of the Archdiocese of Puebla, died April 16 after being struck by a car on the Mexico-Puebla highway. However, officials said they believed the incident to be accidental, as the priest, who was in his late 60s and no longer in active ministry, had been sick and showing signs of significant memory loss.
This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
Vatican City, Apr 30, 2018 / 07:16 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican confirmed Monday that a delegation of six German bishops and one priest will meet with Vatican officials, including the head of the CDF, later this week to discuss the issue of the reception of the Eucharist by non-Catholic spouses of Catholics.
The meeting will take place May 3 with Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Fr. Hermann Geissler, head of the department’s doctrinal section.
The German delegation, which includes Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising and Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne, will also meet with Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and Fr. Markus Graulich, under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.
The meeting takes place following reports, later denied by the German bishops’ conference, that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had rejected a planned proposal by the conference to publish guidelines permitting non-Catholic spouses of Catholics to receive the Eucharist in some limited circumstances.
In February, Cardinal Marx, announced that the 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 concerned a draft version of the guidelines, which were adopted “after intensive debate” during a Feb. 19-22 general assembly of the German bishops’ conference under the leadership of Cardinal Marx, who is the conference chairman.
The German delegation will also include Bishop Felix Genn of Munster, as well as both the president and vice-president of the conference’s doctrinal commission, Bishop Karl-Heinz Wiesemann of Speyer and Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg.
Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg, president of the commission for ecumenism of the German bishops’ conference and Fr. Hans Langendorfer, general secretary of the conference will also take part.
It was reported April 18 by CNA and other media that the CDF had raised objections about the German bishops’ proposal; sources close to the congregation had confirmed this to CNA.
It is unclear whether the Vatican has asked the bishops’ conference to modify the contents of the draft guidelines, whether they have suspended the development of a draft while the matter is considered further, or whether it has been entirely rejected.
Last month, seven German bishops, led by Cardinal Woelki, sent a letter to the CDF and to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity asking for clarification on the matter, appending a copy of the drafted guidelines. The signatories did not consult beforehand with Cardinal Marx.
The seven bishops reportedly 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 also signed by 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.
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.”
Vatican City, Apr 29, 2018 / 04:16 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Sunday Pope Francis praised the recent agreement signed by North and South Korean leaders aimed at reconciliation and denuclearization, praying that the peace process on the peninsula would continue undeterred.
“I accompany with prayer the positive success of the Inter-Korean summit last Friday and the courageous commitment assumed by the leaders of the two parts to carry out a path of sincere dialogue for a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons,” the pope said April 29.
On Friday leaders of both and South Korea signed a revolutionary peace agreement aimed at eradicating nuclear weapons and increasing exchanges, visits, and cooperation between the two Koreas in order to promote a sense of unity and the eventual reunion of families separated during the Korean War.
In a historic first, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un crossed the military demarcation line within the Demilitarized Zone that has divided the Korean peninsula since 1953 to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-In on southern soil.
Both leaders signed the Panmunjeom Declaration stating that “there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and thus a new era of peace has begun.”
In the statement, the leaders agreed to “the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula” and to actively pursue further meetings with the United States, and possibly China, to establish a more permanent peace.
Though some have criticized the accord for lack of a specific plan on denuclearization, Francis prayed that steps toward peace on the peninsula would continue, voicing hope that “a future of peace and more fraternal friendship will not be disappointed, and that collaboration may continue to bring fruits of good for the beloved Korean people and for the entire world.”
The pope spoke during his Sunday Regina Coeli address, which he prays during Easter instead of the Angelus.
In his address, Francis focused on the day’s Gospel from John in which Jesus says he is the true vine and his disciples are the branches, which cannot have life unless they remain attached to the vine.
“This relationship is the secret to Christian life,” he said, noting how John in this specific scene uses the word “remain,” which is repeated seven times throughout the passage.
This, he said, means “remaining with the Lord in order to find the courage to go out of ourselves, of our comfort, of our tight and protected spaces, in order to go into the open sea of others’ needs and to give a wider breadth to our Christian witness in the world.”
This courage, the pope continued, is born from faith in the Risen Lord and from the certainty that his spirit is accompanying us throughout our lives.
One of the “most mature fruits which springs from communion with Christ” is showing charity toward the other, he said, adding that this means to love one another “with self-denial, until the final consequences, just as Jesus loved us.”
However, this charity “is not the fruit of strategies, it is not born from external solicitations, from social or ideological requests,” Francis said. Rather, it comes from an encounter with Jesus and from remaining with him in that encounter.
Jesus, he said, “is for is the vine from which we absorb the sap, that is, the life needed in order to bring to society a different way of living and spending oneself which puts the last ones first.”
When a person is intimately united to the Lord like the branches are to the vine, only then can they bring the fruits of new life, mercy, justice and peace, which come from the Lord’s resurrection, he said.
The saints, he said, were the ones who were able to life the Christian life to the fullest, bearing witness to charity because they were united with the Lord.
However, quoting his new apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, Francis stressed that “to be holy does not require being a bishop, a priest or a religious…We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves.”
“Every activity – work and rest, family and social life, the exercise of political, cultural and economic responsibility – every activity, if it is lived in union with Jesus and with an attitude of love and service, is an occasion for living baptism and evangelic holiness to the full.”
Francis closed his address praying that Mary would teach Christians to remain in Jesus, and to never separate themselves from his love. “We can do nothing without him,” he said, “because our live is the living Christ, present in the Church and in the world.”
After his address, the pope also offered prayer for the 19 people, including two priests, who were killed in a fresh attack on a church in Nigeria’s Middle Belt earlier this week.