Mobile Mercy Shelter celebrates its first anniversary

May 21, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Concepción, Chile, May 21, 2018 / 07:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A Catholic “Mobile Mercy Shelter” celebrated its first anniversary in service to the poor and homeless in the city of Concepción, Chile.

The modified bus is an outreach of the Archdiocese of  Concepción. Various organizations contributed to the effort from the design of the bus to its completely remodeled interior.

When launched in 2017, Archbishop Fernando Chomali told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language sister agency, that “there are a lot of needy people, that’s true, but there are also a lot of people that want to help, who don’t want to be idle bystanders in life, but rather make a real commitment to those most in need.”

“The ideal would be that there would be no more need for this, that everyone would have a family where they could live in dignity, but unfortunately this has not happened yet, and so we have to assume our responsibility to work together in the name of Christ,” he said.

Volunteers receive training in tasks which “help Jesus through these people,” according to project coordinator  Gustave de Pennart. Four volunteers are required per night,  and include a social worker and a nurse’s aid.

The bus is usually stationed in Concepción’s main square and operates overnight Monday through Saturday. It has four beds, two bathrooms with showers, and offers food and clothing. It also has solar panels to light the bus at night.

To celebrate the May 15 anniversary, volunteers organized a dinner with the people that benefit from the mobile shelter. The event took place in front of Concepción’s cathedral, where attendees had a meal, sang “Happy Birthday mobile shelter!” and shared a cake.

So far the mobile shelter has provided 650 overnight stays and served more than 5,000 street people who for various reasons do not want to go to the traditional shelters.

This winter, the mobile shelter added flu shots to its services.

Although there are mobile showers in the United States, and Spain has mobile barber shops, organizers believe the “Mobile Mercy Shelter” is the first of its kind in the world. The project has received the formal blessing of Pope Francis.

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

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125,000 additional Irish register to vote on abortion referendum

May 21, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Dublin, Ireland, May 21, 2018 / 02:00 pm (CNA).- In advance of an upcoming Irish referendum on abortion legal, more than 100,000 people in the country have registered to vote.

Up to 125,000 Irish citizens have registered to vote between February and early May, and will be able vote in the Eighth Amendment referendum, according to The Irish Mirror.

The surge in voter registration has been reported by the National Youth Council of Ireland, a coalition of Irish youth organizations. James Doorley, NYCI deputy director, said many of the newly-registered voters are young adults.

On May 25, voters will consider a referendum that would repeal the Irish Constitution’s eighth amendment, which prohibits abortion. Under current law, the practice of abortion in Ireland is illegal, unless the mother’s health is deemed to be endangered. Pro-life Irish citizens are encouraging a “no” vote on the referendum.

The eighth amendment was passed in Ireland in 1983, with upwards of 67 percent voter-approval. It reads, in part: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

If the referendum is passed, pregnancies could be legally terminated in Ireland in the first 12 weeks.

Last year, a Sunday Times poll reported that 37% of 18- to 34-year-olds supported allowing abortion with no restrictions, compared to 31% of 35- to 54-year-olds.

Polling in February showed growing opposition to increasing abortion access in the country. A Sunday Times “Behavior and Attitudes” poll showed that support for abortions beyond three-months gestation fell from 51 percent to 43 percent, while opposition to changing the country’s abortion laws rose from 27 percent to 35 percent.

As the vote is only days away, Ireland’s clergy and church leaders have asked the world for prayers. Father Marius O’Reilly appealed to Christians on YouTube on May 10.

“I’m making an appeal to you today – please come to our assistance. Pray the rosary for Ireland. Please have Masses offered for Ireland,” he said.

O’Reilly pointed out that other countries have legalized abortion through legislation or court decisions, but “Ireland would be the first country in the world where the people would legalize abortion.”

“We can’t allow that to happen. And so I’m making an appeal to you today – please come to our assistance. Pray the rosary for Ireland. Please have Masses offered for Ireland,” he said.

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Chilean bishop suspends 12 priests, apologizes for not acting sooner

May 21, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Rancagua, Chile, May 21, 2018 / 12:23 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Over the weekend, Chilean Bishop Alejandro Goić Karmelić suspended several priests after allegations of sexual misconduct were raised against them. He apologized for not following up when the accusations were first brought to his attention.

“I would like to ask forgiveness for my actions in this case,” the bishop said in a May 19 statement.

Goić, who heads the diocese of Rancagua, said he “acted without the proper swiftness” when a woman came to him nearly a year ago with concerns regarding the conduct of Fr. Luis Rubio and other priests.

Goić’s apology came the day after a program detailing accusations against Rubio was aired on Chile’s TV13 channel, the same station that leaked Pope Francis’ 10-page letter to Chilean bishops chastising them for a systematic cover-up of clerical abuse and calling them to institute deep changes.

The program was aired May 18, the day after Goić returned from the May 15-17 meeting with Pope Francis. It focuses on the testimony of Eliza Fernandez, a youth minister in the parish of Paredones who approached the bishop last year with concerns about Fr. Rubio’s behavior, particularly with minors.

Rubio had been part of a priestly fraternity referred to as “La Familia,” several of whose members have been accused of sexual misconduct, including the abuse of minors.

“I do not know whether to call it a brotherhood, a sect, or a group of priests who have practices that do not conform to their status as clerics; and with respect to young people,” Fernandez said in the program, adding that the confraternity had shown an unnatural interest in youth who were ‘between 15 and 29 years old,’ and that some publicly joked about being homosexual.

In the program, Rubio admitted to sending nude photos of himself to a Facebook account he thought belonged to a 16-year-old named Pablo, but which was a fake profile Fernandez had set up to catch the priest.

“I’m not asking for saints, but for a person who is dignified,” Fernandez said in the program, adding that she cannot imagine how a priest would be able to hear her confession and then send naked photos to a minor via social media.

Having been approached by TV13 reporters after celebrating Mass May 12, Rubio in the footage admitted to sending the pictures, saying “it was my mistake, I acknowledge that,” and calling the act “a horrible shame.”

When asked if he would remain a priest, Rubio said “it’s a decision that I need to make in my conscience.” He said the day was one “of great sadness for me, and I regret what I have done…I recognize what I have done, that it is horrible, but I cannot say anything more.”

In a previous statement, aired on the program, Bishop Goić had said, “I did not study to be a detective, I studied to be a pastor.” He said that no one had come to him with a “formal accusation,” and that while Fernandez had reached out regarding personal concerns, she had not lodged an official complaint and had not given him any proof, so he could not investigate.

In his statement, Goić said he values the reporting done by TV13, “because they have delivered aspects that I did not know, and which have affected me greatly and caused me great suffering, as well as the community.”

The bishop said he had already submitted a formal complaint to Rancagua’s prosecutor, which contained background on Rubio from the program, and that he will send all the information they have available to the Holy See this week.

Goić also suspended several diocesan priests mentioned in the TV13 program, asking them to halt their ministry until a full investigation can be done.

“I deeply regret any action or situation that violates the values and principles that underpin our Catholic Church and I want to express my clear availability to collaborate in any type of procedure which derives from the knowledge of these facts,” he said.

He asked anyone with information about actions which “do not coincide with the priesthood” to inform their dioceses, and provided the email addresses for the diocese of Rancagua.

“I must admit that, personally, as a Christian and as a pastor, I find myself deeply affected by this difficult situation, which hurts and embarrasses me,” he said, and prayed that “the truth will be revealed, the whole truth, in these cases and in any other situation which threatens the Gospel of the love of Christ.”

Goić, along with every other active bishop in Chile, submitted a written resignation to Pope Francis Thursday, the last day of their meeting with Pope Francis.

The meeting was called by Pope Francis himself last month following an in-depth investigation of abuse cover-up by Chilean Church hierarchy. The investigation, carried out by Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Msgr. Jordi Bertomeu, resulted in a 2,300-page report, which has not been made public.

The investigation was initially centered around Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, appointed to the diocese in 2015 and accused by at least one victim of covering up abuses of Chilean priest Fernando Karadima.

In 2011, Karadima was convicted by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of abusing minors and sentenced to a life of prayer and solitude. Allegations of cover-up were also made against three other bishops – Andrés Arteaga, Tomislav Koljatic and Horacio Valenzuela – whom Karadima’s victims accuse of knowing about Karadima’s crimes and failing to act.

Pope Francis initially defended Barros, saying he had received no evidence of the bishop’s guilt, and called accusations against him “calumny” during a trip to Chile in January. However, after receiving Scicluna’s report, Francis apologized, said that he had been seriously mistaken, and asked to meet the bishops and more outspoken survivors in person.

As of now, no decisions have been made regarding the bishops’ fate, and it will be up to Francis whether to accept or reject their resignations.

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Pope Francis: Like Mary, the Church is a mother

May 21, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, May 21, 2018 / 09:53 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis celebrated the first feast of Mary, Mother of the Church Monday saying that without the emphasis placed on motherhood, the Church would be isolated, composed of no more than “old bachelors.”

“Without this dimension, it sadly becomes a church of old bachelors, who live in this isolation, incapable of love, incapable of fecundity. Without the woman, the Church does not advance – because she is a woman. And this attitude of woman comes from Mary, because Jesus willed it so.”

In his homily during Mass May 21, Pope Francis said “the Church is feminine, because it is ‘church’ and ‘bride,’” both of which are grammatically feminine in the Italian language.

The Church is also a mother, “she gives life,” he said, adding that only a feminine Church would be able to have a truly “fruitful attitude” in accordance with the will of God, who chose “to be born of a woman in order to teach us the path of woman.”

“The important thing is that the Church be a woman, that [it] has this attitude of a bride and of a mother,” he said, adding that “when we forget this, it is a masculine Church.”

Pope Francis spoke during his Mass said in the chapel of the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse, marking the first liturgical celebration of the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, which he established in March.

According to the March 3 decree implementing the feast, it was established in order to help encourage growth in “the maternal sense of the Church” and in “genuine Marian piety.” It is celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost.

It was also established, the decree said, to help the Church “remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the Mystery of the Cross, to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet and to the Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Redeemed.”

The title “Mother of the Church,” was given to the Blessed Mother by Bl. Paul VI.

In his homily, Pope Francis noted that in the Gospels, Mary is not referred to as “the lady” or “the widow of Joseph,” but is rather called “the mother of Jesus.”

Mary’s motherhood is emphasized throughout the Gospels, from the Annunciation to the foot of the cross, he said, explaining that the fathers of the Church realized this attention to motherhood is not just applied to Mary, but can be applied to the entire Church.

The Church itself is feminine, he said, noting that the fathers of the Church say, “even your soul is the bride of Christ and mother.”

“It is with this attitude that comes from Mary, who is Mother of the Church, with this attitude we can understand this feminine dimension of the Church,” the pope said, adding that if this aspect is lost, “the Church loses its identity and becomes a charitable organization or a football team, but not the Church.”

Francis said the primary distinctive quality of a woman is tenderness, which can be seen in Mary’s act of wrapping her newborn son “in swaddling clothing” and laying him in the manger in Bethlehem.

In this action, Mary cared for Christ with meekness and humility, the strongest virtues mothers possess, he said, explaining that “a Church that is a mother goes along the path of tenderness.”

“It knows the language of such wisdom of caresses, of silence, of the gaze that knows compassion,” he said, explaining that this attitude is also representative of those people who live as part of the Church, knowing that they are “[like] a mother [and] must go along the same path: a person [who is] gentle, tender, smiling, full of love.”

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Chilean abuse victim: Pope told me to be happy being gay, God made me this way

May 20, 2018 CNA Daily News 9

Vatican City, May 20, 2018 / 09:55 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A victim of the Chilean clergy abuse crisis who met privately with Pope Francis told a Spanish news source that the Pope told him to be happy being gay, because God made him that way.

Juan Carlos Cruz, a victim of Chilean abuser Fr. Fernando Karadima, met with Pope Francis privately in April after being invited to the Vatican along with other victims of abuse.

In comments to the press on May 2, Cruz said that the Pope was “sincere, attentive and deeply apologetic for the situation.”

“For me, the pope was contrite, he was truly sorry,” Cruz said. “I felt also that he was hurting, which for me was very solemn, because it’s not often that the pope says sorry to you…he said, ‘I was part of the problem, I caused this and I apologize.’”

In a later interview with Spanish newspaper El País, Cruz was asked whether he and Pope Francis had spoken about homosexuality during their meeting, as Cruz identifies as gay.

Cruz confirmed that they did speak about homosexuality, and that he explained to the Pope that he is not a bad person and tries not to hurt anybody.

“He told me ‘Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like that and he loves you like that and I do not care. The Pope loves you as you are, you have to be happy with who you are,’” Cruz recalled. The comment is controversial because it evokes a theological debate about the morality of homosexuality.

The Catechism also states that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also states that people with homosexual tendencies “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”

The Vatican has not yet confirmed or clarified the comments that Cruz said the Pope made regarding homosexuality.

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Pope announces June 29 consistory to create 14 new cardinals

May 20, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Vatican City, May 20, 2018 / 05:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- There will be a consistory June 29 to create 14 new cardinals, each of whom express the “universality” of the Church, Pope Francis announced Sunday after his Regina Coeli address.

“Their provenance expresses the universality of the Church that continues to proclaim the merciful love of God to all people on earth,” he said May 20, noting that the new cardinals from the Diocese of Rome also show “the inseparable link between the see of Peter and the particular Churches spread throughout the world.”

“Let us pray for the new cardinals, so that by confirming their adherence to Christ, the Most Merciful and faithful High Priest (see Hebrews 2:17), they will help me in my ministry as Bishop of Rome for the good of the whole faithful People of God,” the pope said.

Among the newly appointed cardinals is His Beatitude Louis Raphael Sako I, the patriarch of Babylon for the Chaldean Catholic Church and the archbishop of Baghdad.

Those from the Diocese of Rome and the Holy See who have been named are: Archbishop Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, substitute of the Secretariat of State; Archbishop Kondrad Krajewski, papal almoner; and Archbishop Angelo De Donatis, Rome’s vicar general and archpriest of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran.

From around the world are: Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi, Pakistan; Bishop Antonio do Santos Marto of Leiria-Fatima, Portugal; Archbishop Pedro Barreto of Huancayo, Peru; Archbishop Desire Tsarahazana of Tamatave, Madagascar; Archbishop Giuseppe Petrocchi of Aquila, Italy; and Archbishop Thomas Aquino Mango Maeda of Osaka, Japan.

Pope Francis made particular note of three who will be receiving red hats – Archbishop Emeritus Sergio Obeso Rivera of Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico; Prelate Emeritus Toribio Ticono Porco of Corocoro, Bolivia; and Claretian Fr. Aquilina Bocos Merino – who he said “have distinguished themselves for their service to the Church.”

The day of the consistory, the June 29 Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, the new cardinals will concelebrate Mass with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica alongside the new metropolitan archbishops named during the previous year, who traditionally receive the pallium from the pope on that day.

Most of the newly appointed cardinals are under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave. The archbishop emeriti Obeso Rivera and Ticono Porco, and Fr. Aquilina Bocos Merino, are over the age of 80.

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