Harrisburg, Pa., Dec 14, 2018 / 09:01 pm (CNA).- New rules are set to ensure strong religious exemptions to federal mandates requiring employer health care plans to provide birth control coverage, but Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s … […]
St. Paul, Minn., Dec 14, 2018 / 08:01 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Bernard Hebda of Saint Paul and Minneapolis announced Friday several changes meant “to change the culture that fostered the clergy abuse crisis.”
Among these are the creation of a… […]
Spokane, Wash., Dec 14, 2018 / 07:01 pm (CNA).- Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane installed six laymen who are not in formation for holy orders as acolytes Wednesday.
“The men were chosen for their dedication to the cathedral family, and their service at the Altar reflects their commitment to service in the wider community,” Fr. Darrin Connall, vicar general and rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, said Dec. 12.
The six men insalled as acolytes are Dave Gibb, Gene DiRe, Justin Bullock, Dennis Johnson, Thomas Lavagetto, and Rick Sparrow.
The installation of acolytes is effected by the bishop praying over the candidates, and then giving each the Eucharistic vessels.
The ministry of acolyte is most often conferred upon men in who are in formation for the diaconate or priesthood, but the Code of Canon Law does provide that “Lay men who possess the age and qualifications … can be admitted on a stable basis through the prescribed liturgical rite to the ministries of lector and acolyte.”
Becoming an acolyte does not grant one the right to obtain support or remuneration from the Church.
In the dioceses of the US, the qualifications to be installed as a lector or acolyte are having completed one’s 21st year, and possessing the skills necessary for an effective service at the altar, being a fully initiated member of the Church, being free of any canonical penalty, and living a life which befits the ministry to be undertaken.
Lay persons who are not installed acolytes can supply certain of their duties, when the need of the Church warrants it and ministers are lacking.
However, installed acolytes are permitted to purify the Eucharistic vessels, which task cannot be supplied by another lay person.
The installation of lay men not in formation for holy orders as acolytes is not common among dioceses in the US, though the Diocese of Lincoln is among those which do so.
Bishop Daly, 58, was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 1987. He was consecrated a bishop in 2011, serving as auxiliary bishop of San Jose until he became Bishop of Spokane in 2015.
Washington D.C., Dec 14, 2018 / 06:44 pm (CNA).- The number of gun deaths in the United States reached almost 40,000 last year, the highest number since firearm deaths were first recorded in mortality data nearly 40 years ago.
According to an analysis… […]
Beijing, China, Dec 14, 2018 / 05:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Two underground bishops in China have agreed to step aside in favor of bishops of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, in the wake of a deal signed between the Holy See and the Chinese government.
AsiaNews reported Dec. 13 that Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin of Mindong (Ningde) has agreed to become auxiliary bishop and that Bishop Vincent Zhan Silu will become Bishop of Mindong.
The agreement was made at a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, in the presence of Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
At the same meeting, Archbishop Celli announced that Bishop Peter Zhuang Jianjian of Shantou will give way to Bishop Joseph Huang Bingzhang.
Both Bishop Zhan and Bishop Huang had been excommunicated, and were reconciled to the Holy See as part of a September agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China.
According to AsiaNews, at the meeting Archbishop Celli gave Bishop Guo a letter from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and from Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, asking that he give up his role as Bishop of Mindong in favor of Bishop Zhan.
“Also according to the report of the priests of Mindong, Msgr. Celli would have told Msgr. Guo that Pope Francis himself asks for this gesture of obedience ‘and of sacrifice for the general situation of the Chinese Church’,” the news outlet reported.
AsiaNews also noted that in previous cases in which a bishop of the CPCA was reconciled to the Holy See, he would become auxiliary bishop to an existing bishop of the underground Church.
Bishop Guo, 59, was detained by the Chinese authorities overnight in March. While he was released after only a short detention, he was ordered not to officiate as a bishop while saying Mass because he is not recognized by the government.
He was taken away because he refused to concelebrate with Bishop Zhan at a Chrism Mass.
Bishop Guo was also detained ahead of Holy Week in 2017.
In January, Asia News reported that a Vatican delegation asked Bishop Guo voluntarily to accept a position as coadjutor bishop under Bishop Zhan. This was also among the conditions Chinese officials had proposed to Bishop Guo during his 2017 detention.
Bishop Guo told the New York Times in February that “we must obey Rome’s decision,” and that “our principle is that the Chinese Catholic Church must have a connection with the Vatican; the connection cannot be severed.”
But he also indicated that while “the Chinese government doesn’t say explicitly that we need to disconnect” from Rome, “in some circumstances it has such an implication.”
In March, at the Chinese Communist Party’s annual meeting, Bishop Zhan told China’s Sing Tao Daily: “There are no obstacles [to a China-Vatican deal] if everyone just thinks of the benefit of the church for the sake of peace.”
Bishop Zhuang, 88, was asked to retire in late 2017 by the Holy See, but he reportedly refused the request at that time. He was consecrated a bishop in 2006, with the approval of the Holy See.
In December 2017 Bishop Zhuang was reportedly escorted to Beijing, where he met separately with leaders of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, officials from China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs, and the Vatican delegation.
If Bishop Zhuang resigned, the Holy See delegation reportedly said at that time, he could nominate three priests, one of whom Bishop Huang would choose as his vicar general. “Bishop Zhuang could not help his tears on hearing the demand,” Asia News’ source said, explaining “it was meaningless to appoint a vicar general, who is still a priest that Bishop Huang could remove him anytime.”
Santa Fe, N.M., Dec 14, 2018 / 04:05 pm (CNA).- The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled on Thursday to uphold a book-lending program that gives school children at public and private schools equal access to state-approved textbooks.
The Becket law group, wh… […]
Washington D.C., Dec 14, 2018 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- After reports of a guilty verdict emerged in the trial of Australian Cardinal George Pell, some in Australia have questioned the integrity of a process undertaken under the veil of a media blackout.
London, England, Dec 14, 2018 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- The question of how the United Kingdom will leave the European Union, and on what terms, has monopolized British politics since the 2016 referendum in which voters decisively opted out of the internation… […]
Vatican City, Dec 14, 2018 / 10:17 am (CNA/EWTN News).- This Christmas it is particularly important to support refugees and migrants, Pope Francis said Friday, ahead of the Vatican Christmas Concert fundraiser in support of young refugee education.
“Christmas is always new because it invites us to be reborn in faith, to open ourselves to hope, to rekindle charity,” Pope Francis said in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace Dec. 14.
“This year, in particular, calls us to reflect on the situation of many men, women and children of our time – migrants, displaced persons, and refugees – marching to escape wars, miseries caused by social injustice and climate change,” the pope continued.
Pope Francis stressed his particular concern for the “little ones” among migrants, who face dangerous situations and “long marches on foot” when they should be “sitting among the school desks, like their peers.”
“They too need training to be able to work tomorrow and participate as citizens, aware of the common good,” he commented.
The Holy Father expressed gratitude for the work of two papal charities that support young refugees in Iraq and Uganda. “Missioni Don Bosco” in Uganda and “Scholas Occurrentes” in Iraq will both receive proceeds from the Vatican Christmas Concert taking place in Vatican City’s Paul VI Hall Dec.14.
“Missioni Don Bosco” is an Italian Catholic charity supporting the education of disadvantaged youth in developing countries. Their Salesian missionaries in Uganda aid refugee families from South Sudan. One of their educational projects in the Palabek refugee camp provides vocational training to 1,500 students, who also receive one meal a day.
The Pontifical Foundation’s “Scholas Occurrentes” was founded by Bergoglio while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires as an initiative to encourage social integration and the culture of encounter through technology, arts and sports.
On Friday, Pope Francis met with young Iraqi refugees supported by “Scholas Occurrentes,” and the artists performing in the Christmas concert, and shared his message on the importance of education and solidarity.
The pope drew a direct link between the Christmas story and the needs of child refugees today. “When the violent anger of Herod struck the territory of Bethlehem, the Holy Family of Nazareth experienced the anguish of persecution, and guided by God, took refuge in Egypt,” he said.
“The little Jesus reminds us that half of the refugees of today, in the world, are children, innocent victims of human injustices,” he continued.
Washington D.C., Dec 13, 2018 / 07:00 pm (CNA).- An agriculture bill supported by a coalition of Catholic groups passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday with bipartisan support. During debate over the bill, lawmakers also passed a controversial rule regarding debate on US involvement in Yemen.
The bill now moves to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.
The “farm bill” concerns agricultural programs and food assistance. It is renewed each year, and this process can sometimes be quite lengthy due to additions and amendments added to the bill by members of Congress.
The version of the farm bill passed Dec. 12 was a compromise that eliminated some of the more controversial aspects of an earlier version of the bill. Those controversial provisions included expanded work requirements for people who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds. That bill passed the House of Representatives in June, but only had the support of Republican members.
SNAP is used by approximately 38 million Americans each year to purchase food items. Currently, able-bodied SNAP recipients who are between the ages of 18 and 49 who do not have dependents under the age of six, must work or volunteer for 20 hours a week or participate in a job-training program in order to receive benefits. The proposed bill would have upped the upper age limit of this requirement to 59, but that provision was dropped in the compromise bill.
In a controversial procedural move, a mostly party-line passing vote on rules for floor debate of the farm bill also included a provision that would block legislators from forcing a vote on military aid to Saudi Arabia’s intervention in the Yemeni civil war.
This effectively limits the Senate’s Dec. 13 vote to withdraw military aid from Saudi Arabia to a symbolic gesture.
This amended bill passed by a vote of 369-47 in the House of Representatives, and 87-13 in the Senate. The Senate passed the bill Dec. 11.
The bill was praised by a coalition of Catholic organizations.
“Agriculture policies should promote the production and access of nutritious food for all people, using the bounty from the land God has called us to tend and steward to aid the least of our brothers and sister in this country and around the world,” read a Dec. 12 letter to the House of Representatives signed by several Catholic organizations, including the USCCB, Catholic Relief Services, and Catholic Charities USA.
“We are pleased that the recently released Farm Bill Conference Committee Report includes provisions that protect global and domestic nutrition programs and strengthens rural supports and employment training programs,” they added.
The letter also stated support for the inclusion of two programs that contribute to rural development, as well as the bill’s changes to international food security programs. These changes will make the programs “more effective and allow them to serve more people.”
The Catholic coalition expressed disappointment with other parts of the bill, including subsidies to farmers and ranchers and a decrease in funding to conservation programs. Each year, one of the hotly-debated points of the farm bill concerns subsidies that are distributed to farmers, and critics of this say the money does not always go to farmers who are in need of assistance.
The farm subsidies should be “prioritized” for struggling farmers, says the letter.
“It is disappointing that the Conference report does not take modest steps to limit subsidy payments to farmers who are actively engaged in farming.”