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Pope: Don’t be afraid of the cross – there is no glory without it

June 29, 2018 CNA Daily News 2

Vatican City, Jun 29, 2018 / 03:25 am (CNA/EWTN News).- For Jesus, suffering and glory go hand in hand, Pope Francis said Friday, urging Christians not to fall into the temptation of running from the cross, but to imitate Christ in bending down to embrace the weak and vulnerable.

In his homily for the June 29 Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the official patrons of Rome, the pope said that in Jesus, “glory and the cross go together; they are inseparable.”

“Once we turn our back on the cross, even though we may attain the heights of glory, we will be fooling ourselves, since it will not be God’s glory, but the snare of the enemy.”

He pointed to the day’s Gospel reading from Matthew, in which Peter declares that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Though Jesus applauds Peter for this recognition, telling him he is the rock on which he will build the Church, a few lines later Jesus chastises Peter for swearing that he will not allow the crucifixion to happen.

By doing this, Peter “immediately becomes a stumbling stone in the Messiah’s path,” Francis said, because while he believes that he is defending Jesus, “Peter, without realizing it, becomes the Lord’s enemy; Jesus calls him ‘Satan.’”

In contemplating Peter’s life and his confession of faith in the day’s Gospel, Catholics are also invited to reflect on the daily temptations that every disciple faces, the pope said.

“Like Peter, we as a Church will always be tempted to hear those ‘whisperings’ of the evil One, which will become a stumbling stone for the mission,” he said, explaining that he used the word “whisper” because “the devil seduces from hiding, lest his intentions be recognized.”

“He behaves like a hypocrite, wishing to stay hidden and not be discovered.”

Christians, he said, can often be tempted to keep a “prudent distance” from the wounds of Christ, whereas Jesus himself bends down to touch humanity’s brokenness and asks Christians to join him in touching “the suffering flesh” of others.

“To proclaim our faith with our lips and our heart demands that we – like Peter – learn to recognize the ‘whisperings’ of the evil one,” he said. “It demands learning to discern and recognize those personal and communitarian pretexts that keep us far from real human dramas, that preserve us from contact with other people’s concrete existence and, in the end, from knowing the revolutionary power of God’s tender love.”

By choosing not to separate his glory from his death on the cross, Jesus frees both his disciples and the Church from “empty forms of triumphalism” which are void of love, service, compassion, and, ultimately, people, he said.

Jesus, Francis said, wants to free the Church from “grand illusions that fail to sink their roots in the life of God’s faithful people or, still worse, believe that service to the Lord means turning aside from the dusty roads of history.”

To contemplate and follow Christ, then, means opening one’s heart to God the Father and to all those he chose to identify with, “in the sure knowledge that he will never abandon his people.”

Pope Francis closed his homily urging attendees to imitate Peter in confessing that “Jesus Christ is Lord.”

This is the daily chorus that every disciple ought to profess, he said, saying it should be done “with the simplicity, the certainty and the joy of knowing that the Church shines not with her own light, but with the light of Christ.”

“Her light is drawn from the Sun of Justice, so that she can exclaim: ‘It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.’”
Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Square for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, during which he gave new metropolitan archbishops appointed throughout the past year a white wool vestment called the “pallium.” Though there were 30 who will receive the pallium, only 26 made it to the Mass in Rome.

Adorned with six black silk crosses, the pallium dates back to at least the fifth century. The wearing of the pallium by metropolitan archbishops is a symbol of authority and of unity with the Holy See, and it serves as a symbol of the metropolitan archbishop’s jurisdiction in his own diocese as well as the other particular dioceses within his ecclesiastical province.

The title of “metropolitan bishop” refers to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis, namely, the primary city of an ecclesiastical province or regional capital.

The “pallium Mass” also fell the day after Pope Francis created 14 new cardinals in a June 28 consistory, 11 of whom are of voting age.


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Masked, armed men attack chancery in Nicaragua

June 28, 2018 CNA Daily News 1

Matagalpa, Nicaragua, Jun 28, 2018 / 03:22 pm (ACI Prensa).- The pastoral center of the Diocese of Matagalpa in central Nicaragua, whose bishop is currently in Rome to inform the pope of the situation in his country, was attacked by men armed with machetes on Tuesday.

Two months of protests against Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega have resulted in more than 200 deaths.

The priests of the Matagalpa diocese stated that around noon on June 26 “our Charterhouse Diocesan Pastoral Center was raided by a group of masked men armed with machetes.”

The priests indicated that the assailants “stormed into the center,” took away valuables, and damaged the furniture and the infrastructure. They also threatened the guard.

The priests expressed their sadness “for this desecration of a sacred place dedicated to evangelization and spirituality.” They also condemned the lack of respect for members of the Church and its goods.

“This shameful act is an affront to the person of our pastor Bishop Rolando Álvarez who is on his consultative trip to Rome, and to our parishioners,” the priests said, asking the authorities to find those responsible.

The clergy of the Matagalpa diocese renewed their “urgent call for peace, the end of the violence, and we strongly support the strengthening of the national dialogue in order to come to and honor a national accord for peace and justice. Let’s keep our sanity and respect for others. Let us pray untiringly to the Lord.”

The country’s bishops have mediated on-again, off-again peace talks between the government and opposition groups, and were quick to acknowledge the protesters’ complaints. Bishops and priests across Nicaragua have worked to separate protesters and security forces, and have been threatened and shot.

Bishop Álvarez is currently in Rome together with Cardinal Leopoldo José Brenes Solorzano of Managua to brief Pope Francis on the state of affairs in Nicaragua.

He wrote on Twitter June 27 that “As soon as I arrived in Rome, I was informed of the lamentable events that took place at the Charterhouse Pastoral Center. They achieved their objective. Already I knew. This was obviously directed. This is the reality Nicaragua is going through.”


“Apenas he llegado a Roma, me informan los lamentables acontecimientos acontecidos en el Centro Pastoral de la Cartuja. Cumplieron su objetivo. Ya lo supe. Obviamente ésto fue dirigido. Esta es la realidad que vive Nicaragua”. Mons. Rolando José.

— Monseñor Rolando José Alvarez L. (@DiocesisdeMat) June 27, 2018


Bishop Álvarez has been outspoken in favor of the opposition; he exhorted Nicaraguans during his June 10 homily to join “the immense majority” of the population which is asking for an urgent change in the country since “Nicaragua can no longer tolerate this.”

He has also said, “We hope there would be a series of electoral reforms, structural changes to the electoral authority – free, just and transparent elections, international observation without conditions … Effectively the democratization of the country.”

Fr. Vicente Martínez Bermúdez, a priest of the Diocese of Matagalpa, has reported that over the weekend he was detained by a group of 20 hooded men and threatened with death. Another priest of the Matagalpa diocese was wounded by shrapnel May 15 while trying to separate protesters and security forces, the AP reported.

Protests began April 18 after Ortega announced social security and pension reforms. The changes were soon abandoned in the face of widespread, vocal opposition, but protests only intensified after more than 40 protestors were killed by security forces initially.

Barricades and roadblocks are now found throughout the country, and clashes frequently turn lethal.

Peace talks resumed June 25 under the Church’s mediation.

But the day prior, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights charged that Matagalpa, as well as Diriamba, Managua, Masaya, Nagarote, and Tipitapa were attacked by “combined forces” made up of regular police, riot police, paramilitaries, and pro-government vigilantes.

The Nicaraguan government has suggested that protestors are killing their own supporters so as to destabilize Ortega’s administration.

The pension reforms which triggered the unrest were modest, but protests quickly turned to Ortega’s authoritarian bent.

Ortega has shown resistance to calls for elections, which are not scheduled until 2021, to be held early.

Ortega has been president of Nicaragua since 2007, and oversaw the abolition of presidential term limits in 2014.

He was a leader in the Sandinista National Liberation Front, which had ousted the Somoza dictatorship in 1979 and fought US-backed right-wing counterrevolutionaries during the 1980s. Ortega was also leader of Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990.



This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


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Local leaders offer prayers after shooting at Annapolis newspaper

June 28, 2018 CNA Daily News 1

Baltimore, Md., Jun 28, 2018 / 03:22 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Archdiocese of Baltimore offered their prayers for the victims and first responders of a shooting at an Annapolis newspaper on Thursday afternoon.

A suspect is in custody after an active shooter was reported at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland around 2:30 p.m. Eastern time. At least five people are dead and multiple others have serious injuries, according to police reports.

“We offer our prayers for the victims of today’s shooting at the offices of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis and for the first responders on the scene,” the Archdiocese of Baltimore said on Twitter.

Bishops from nearby dioceses also offered their prayers.

“May we be united in our prayers for those killed and injured in today’s shooting in Annapolis,” said Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Va. “We also pray for their families, the entire community and the end of all violence in our world.”

“I join people of all faiths across our community in praying for the people wounded in the attack at the @capitalgazette in Annapolis,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C.

“The Church calls us to prayer, particularly in moments of crisis. It is what we do best because it is what the Lord asks us to do.”

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said he was praying for the community and urged people to stay away from the area.

“Absolutely devastated to learn of this tragedy in Annapolis. I am in contact with County Executive Steve Schuh, and @MDSP [Maryland State Police] is on the scene assisting @AACOPD [Anne Arundel County Police Department]. Please, heed all warnings and stay away from the area. Praying for those at the scene and for our community,” Hogan said in a tweet.

“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,” Phil Davis, a reporter at the newspaper, said on Twitter.

The Capital Gazette is a local, daily newspaper and website owned by the Baltimore Sun Media Group.


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Minn. archbishop: No plans for parish appeals to fund abuse settlement

June 28, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

St. Paul, Minn., Jun 28, 2018 / 01:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Archbishop Bernard Hebda of Saint Paul and Minneapolis said Wednesday there are no plans for additional parish appeals to fund a proposed $210 million settlement for victims of clergy sexual abuse.

In a June 27 radio interview with MPR News, Hedba told host Kerri Miller that most of the settlement money – $170 million – would come from the archdiocese’s insurance and from money already collected from parish appeals.

Parishes will likely not be responsible for the remainder of the money, he said, though some have voluntarily given donations.

“It’s not like we’re going to be making an additional appeal – at least at this point, that’s not part of the plan,” he told MPR News. “Certainly, we’ve already been hearing from people that desire to be part of this, who recognize the responsibility of the church at large for the situation.”

After more than two years’ deliberation, the $210 million settlement was announced by the archdiocese in May, and includes a plan for abuse compensation as well as for bringing the archdiocese out of bankruptcy. The amount is an increase of more than $50 million from the proposal that the archdiocese had originally submitted.

In January 2015, the archdiocese had filed for bankruptcy, saying many abuse claims had been made possible under Minnesota legislation that opened a temporary window for older claims to be heard in civil court.

The initial plan proposed by the archdiocese included $156 million for survivors who filed claims. That plan would have drawn about $120 million in insurance settlements and $30 million from the archdiocese and some of its parishes. Victims’ attorneys said it was inadequate and did not include insurers and parishes sufficiently.

In January 2018, a federal bankruptcy judge ordered a return to mediation for all the parties involved.

Under the final plan, the majority of the money – about $170 million – comes from insurance carriers for the archdiocese and individual parishes. The other $40 million will come from diocesan and parish sources, such as cash-on-hand and the sale of interests in land.

Hebda told MPR News that while some Catholics are angry about the settlement, there are many “wonderful Catholic lay people” who are supportive of the archdiocese and are committed to helping the Church do better in the future when it comes to sexual abuse.

He also noted that the archdiocese has improved the way in which it addresses allegations, including the establishment of a review board that includes members who have survived past clergy abuse.

“Any time that there’s any allegation that would come into the archdiocese, not only do we involve law enforcement, but we would also involve that review board,” he told MPR. “The opportunities for anything other than transparency are minimal.”


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Red hat shows importance of Fatima message, new cardinal says

June 28, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, Jun 28, 2018 / 12:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Among the Church’s newest cardinals is Antonio Augusto dos Santos Marto, who oversees the diocese of Leiria-Fatima. He says his elevation to the rank of cardinal is not only a sign of Francis’ affinity for popular devotion, but shows the relevance of the message Mary gave to the Church when she appeared in the small town over 100 years ago.

When Pope Francis visited Fatima in May 2017 to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of one of the most famous Marian apparitions in the history of the Church, “he understood and intuited” not only what was happening in the Church and in global society 100 years ago, but also what is happening today, Santos said.

Speaking to journalists hours before the June 28 consistory in which he was elevated to the rank of cardinal, Santos said that “Pope Francis intuits a lot in a short amount of time…he deeply understands the value of what the Church is living.”

“In my view, he intuited and understood the universal projection of the Fatima message,” both for the Church and for humanity, he said, and pointed to modern crises which parallel the global challenges present in 1917, such as persecution of the Church and what Pope Francis has called the “third world war in pieces.”

Not only will the presence of a cardinal give more weight to the Marian apparitions, but it can also be read as a sign of Francis’ love for expressions of popular piety and devotion, Santos said.

Pope Francis “has a great love for popular religiosity, which is an expression of the inculturation of the faith in the simple people, and in Fatima this is seen, it is lived and it is visible.”

“Perhaps the pope was impressed by this living, by this strength of evangelizing through popular religiosity,” he said, citing the pope’s background in Latin American culture, which places a strong emphasis on popular devotion.

Santos, 71, has overseen the diocese of Leiria-Fatima since 2006. He oversaw the visit of Benedict XVI in 2010, and was tasked with preparing for the centenary anniversary of the 1917 apparitions, which took place in May 2017, and was marked by a papal visit from Pope Francis.

In his view, Santos said, the centenary celebrations are a key reason why he became a recipient of the red biretta in Thursday’s consistory.

Not only is the appointment as cardinal a personal “act of trust” on the part of the pope, but it is also a sign of the universality of the Catholic Church, which is clearly seen in Fatima, visited annually by thousands of pilgrims from all over the world who go to the shrine to pray and honor the Virgin Mary, he said.

These two things, universality and personal trust, “go together,” Santos said, and cited the letter given to the new cardinals after receiving news of their appointments.

In the letter, Francis had told the appointees that “the nomination as cardinal represents the universality of the Church and also a closer bond with the See of Peter, the pope, and the local Church,” Santos said. He called his own nomination “a gift from the pope to Fatima.”

Practically, Santos said not much will change in terms of his duties, since he is still bishop of a diocese, and he will work alongside the rest of the bishops’ conference in a “collegial atmosphere.”

Santos said he found out about his nomination before celebrating Mass on the Feast of Pentecost, when he got a call from the local nuncio informing him of the news.

The cardinal said he was surprised and excited to hear about his nomination. The appointment as cardinal is “a service, it’s another mission,” he said, adding that he is “happy, peaceful, and trusting in God’s grace to carry out this mission.”



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Now a cardinal, Giovanni Angelo Becciu heads to congregation for saints’ causes

June 28, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, Jun 28, 2018 / 11:41 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Newly-minted Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu will resign from his post as substitute of the Secretariat of State tomorrow, in anticipation of his appointment as prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints later this summer.

Cardinal Becciu, 70, was elevated to the cardinalate June 28, and will resign his role at the Secretariat of State June 29. His appointment at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints will take effect Aug. 31.

Referring to his new post while speaking to the press June 27, Cardinal Becciu said the Church does not exist “to create a system of power to dominate,” but its primary goal is to help humanity to “experience God’s existence.”

The experience with God, he said, is “an experience which transforms, which day by day you make a good journey, and at the end you become a saint.”

The Church’s mission, then, is to remind the world of “the vocation for all men to become saints.”

Because of this, Becciu said, the importance of his new office is to “discover those people who lived the Gospel in such a courageous way, and to propose them to humanity as true models of holiness. It’s a very interesting challenge.”

Becciu was born in 1948 in Pattada, on the island of Sardinia, and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Ozieri in 1972, at the age of 24.

In 2001 he was consecrated a bishop, and appointed apostolic nuncio to Angola as well as Sao Tome and Principe. He served there until 2009, when he was appointed apostolic nuncio to Cuba.

Since 2011, he has been substitute at the Secretarat of State.

Cardinal Becciu has served as an important aide to Pope Francis, and while meeting with reporters he discussed the pope’s ongoing reform of the Roman Curia.

“It’s still too early to judge the reform,” he said: “The work hasn’t been finished” and it is still “a bit rugged”.

“We’re working toward an apostolic constitution that will bring everything together, giving a unified structure to the whole reform. So far we’ve had elements, but not a unified idea.”

Cardinal Becciu’s role at the Secretariat of State “all at the service of the Holy Father. It meant heping to spread his voice and helping him to carry out his mission throughout the world.”

The cardinal has also served as Pope Francis’ personal delegate to the Knights of Malta, tasked with overseeing a “spiritual and moral” reform of the order.