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Commentary: Did the pope say that God made someone gay?

Denver, Colo., May 21, 2018 / 02:00 pm (CNA).- I am not a priest or deacon, or even a counselor or pastoral care worker. But in more than a decade of full-time work in the Church, I’ve often sat with people who are confronting some difficult cross they have to carry, some heavy burden that’s been placed upon them.

I’ve found that the question people most often ask is “why?”

“Why did my spouse abandon me and my children?”

“Why did my baby die?”

“Why do I face these temptations? Why did God make me this way?”

“Why?” is the most common question. And it’s the question that we’re usually least equipped to answer.

We do well with “what” and “how” questions, but “why” is harder.

“What am I supposed to do now?” - “Follow the teachings of the Church, and give the anguish and the suffering to Jesus.”

“How can I live this way?” - “Trust in the Lord, stay close to the sacraments, lean on the community of the Church- on saints, family, friends, pastors, and counselors.”

Why did this happen to me?” - “I...I don’t know.”

We all want coherent and sensible narratives to explain the circumstances of our lives. Looking for those narratives seems to be a part of coping with difficulty or tragedy. But sometimes there are no clear answers. And sometimes, when we can’t find them, we create them in our minds- we call this the narrative fallacy.

The essayist Nassim Taleb says that the narrative fallacy “addresses our limited ability to look at sequences of facts without weaving an explanation into them, or, equivalently, forcing a logical link, an arrow of relationship upon them.”

A few years ago, I sat with a woman who had suffered terrible abuse. She was talking with me about her experience. Eventually, she told me that God had wanted her to suffer, to test her faithfulness to the Gospel. She told me her pastor had told her that was true.

Her pastor was a friend of mine. I doubted he believed that God proactively willed that this woman would be abused. I called him and asked him if he’d said that.

“No,” he told me. “She said that. I sat there quietly listening, trying to decide what I should say next. But before I got a chance, the conversation ended.”

I thought of that woman and her pastor when I read that a Chilean, Juan Carlos Cruz, told the Spanish newspaper El Pais that Pope Francis said that God had made him gay.

After being reported in the media, what the pope might have said has become the subject of speculation, of misapplication, of misunderstanding, and criticism.

It must be said that God loves each one of us. God is love. He created us in love, and sustains us in love. God reveals truth to us - truth about ourselves, and about his plan for us - because he loves us.
 
The Church teaches that same-sex attraction is a “disordered” inclination, which distorts God’s plan for our sexuality. Disordered inclinations come from the disordering effects of Adam’s fall - same-sex attraction is not a choice, it may even have genetic components, but it is not consistent with God’s positive will for the experience or expression of our sexuality.

God gives us the grace to bear our crosses, he permits that they exist and that we carry them, and through Christ, he transforms us in holiness as we carry our crosses. But it would be a cruel God who actively imposed on us the suffering that comes from disorder. And God is not cruel.

It is not immoral to experience same-sex attraction, which, the Church recognizes, often constitutes a “trial”- a cross. But all people, no matter their attractions, are called to express their sexuality in accord with the teaching of the Church, and with the virtue of chastity.

There is every reason to believe that Pope Francis knows those things and believes them. He teaches them, in fact, with regularity. While we don’t know what Pope Francis said in a private, pastoral moment, it is unfair to presume that he would willfully give counsel that contravenes the teachings of the Church.

What Pope Francis said might have been misreported, or it might have been accurately reported in its entirety. But it’s most likely that, in the difficulty of a pastoral moment, what the pope said, or attempted to say, was somehow unclear, confused, or misunderstood.  

We may not know what the pope said, or didn’t say. He may choose to clarify it, or it may continue to be the subject of speculation. But from Catholics, at least, the pope deserves the benefit of the doubt, with some understanding for the challenge of teaching complex theological concepts in intimate pastoral moments, and understanding for the challenge of receiving and comprehending those concepts.

In a private meeting with a man who carries many crosses, including some imposed by abuse at the hands of a priest, the pope gave a reminder of God’s love, and of the Church’s love. Beyond that, we are unlikely to be sure what was said. But in charity, we should presume the best of the pope, and pray for him, for Mr. Cruz, and for all those who might doubt the Lord’s love, or ask the oft-unanswerable question: “Why?


This commentary reflects the opinions of the author, and does not necessarily reflect an editorial position of Catholic News Agency.

 

125,000 additional Irish register to vote on abortion referendum

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.

Analysis: With new appointments, Pope Francis puts his mark on the College of Cardinals

Vatican City, May 21, 2018 / 12:32 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis’ fifth consistory marks an important shift within the College of Cardinals: it is the first time in the five years of this pontificate that in a possible future conclave the number of cardinals created by Pope Francis will surpass the number of cardinals created by his predecessors.
 
As of April, the College of Cardinals is composed this way: there are 48 voting cardinals created by Pope Francis, 48 by Benedict XVI and 19 created by John Paul II, for a total of 115 voting cardinals.
 
After the June 29 consistory, the number of cardinals created by Pope Francis will be 59, and the total number of voting cardinals will be 125.

Only cardinals younger than 80 have the right to vote in a conclave. On June 8, Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation of the Cause of Saints, will turn 80, and so at the moment of the consistory there will there will be 47 voting cardinals created by Benedict XVI.
 
That means that Pope Francis has made the decision to surpass the limit of 120 voting cardinals set by Paul VI and confirmed by John Paul II. He did so also at the last consistory, in June 28, 2017, when Pope Francis created 5 new cardinals, all of them below the age of 80, that raised the total number of voting cardinals to 121.
 
Some other figures are revealing.
 
Since the very first consistory, Pope Francis wanted to show a universal Church by tapping for a “red hat” bishops or archbishops from countries that had never before been represented by a cardinal.
 
This consistory is slightly different, as Pope Francis picked countries that have been already had cardinals. Japan, Pakistan, Madagascar, and Iraq are back in the sacred college, after a long absence. With their presence there are now 87 countries represented in the College of Cardinals.
 
Europe is now the most represented continent, and will still be: after the next consistory, there will be 53 European voting cardinals. Latin America has a new representative in the sacred college, so there will be 13 Latin American voting cardinals; Africa will climb to 16 cardinals and Asia to 17 cardinals. North America will have 17 cardinals and Central America 5, while Oceania will keep 4 red birettas.
 
The roster of the pope’s new cardinals do not include any bishops from North America. It is particularly surprising that Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles will not be created a cardinal, given that his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, has already turned 82.
 
Even if it is Pope Francis’ unwritten rule to avoid creating cardinals in diocese that already have an elector, Los Angeles does not fit the bill.
 
The rationale could be that of representativeness: with 10 voting cardinals, the United States is second only to Italy as the most represented country in the College of Cardinals. This consideration might have weighed in Pope Francis’ decision.
 
Another point is also noteworthy: Pope Francis rarely makes cardinals in dioceses generally considered cardinalatial posts. So, Japan will be represented, but the cardinal will not be the Archbishop of Tokyo, as usual, but instead Archbishop Thomas Aquinas Manyo of Osaka. Madagascar is not represented by the Archdiocese of Antananarivo, its capital city, but by Archbishop Desiré Tsarahazana of Toamasina.
 
The appointment of the second cardinal from Madagascar – the first was Jérôme Louis Rakotomalala, created by Paul VI in 1969 – shows a particular concern for the Church in Madagascar, and might also pave the way to a Pope Francis’ visit to the African country.
 
There are clues supporting that possibility.
 
Bishop Gilbert Aubry, Bishop of Reunion and president of the Indian Ocean Bishops’ Conference, which met Pope Francis for their ad limina visit Apr. 9, said May 10 in an interview with Antenne Reunion that a papal visit in Madagascar might be scheduled for 2019. It would be the second visit of a Pope to Madagascar, and would mark the 30th anniversary of Pope St. John Paul II’s 1989 visit.
 
Giving a wider glance at the list, it is easy to see many of Pope Francis’ main concerns. His focus on the Middle East is borne out in the fact that Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako of the Chaldeans is the first of the list, even before Archbishop Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and one of the three cardinals from the Roman Curia among the new red hats.
 
The appointment of Patriarch Sako as a cardinal shows the Pope’s attention to Iraq, and to suffering Churches - the Pope also appointed as a cardinal Syria’s nuncio, Mario Zenari, in the 2016 consistory.

Patriarch Sako recently said that he invited the pope to visit Iraq, during a visit with Francis in February. A papal visit to Iraq has been studied for years, and is considered likely to happen, once security issues can be solved.
 
Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi, Pakistan, will also get the red hat: Pope Francis learned of the difficult situation of Pakistan speaking with Pakistani bishops in their ad limina visit March 15, and the red birretta likely aims to give more attention to a small Catholic community who is also targeted by the blasphemy laws.
 
The Roman Curia got three red hats: beyond the appointment of Archbishop Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pope appointed as cardinals Archbishops Giovanni Angelo Becciu and Konrad Krajewski.
 
This latter is the Papal Almoner, and he will apparently keep his post. It seems the pope wants to give to the office of the Papal Almoner the highest rank, emphasizing the work with poor. During recent years, the Papal Almoner has been promoter of many initiatives for poor, including a laundromat (“The Pope Francis laundry”) and a dormitory for the homeless.
 
The red hat given to Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, deputy to the Secretariat of State, might anticipate Archbishop Becciu’s appointment as Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints, to replace Cardinal Amato, who will soon retire.
 
This would means, as a side effect, that there could be a further reshuffle within the Secretariat of State, with a new deputy, after the pope appointed Msgr. Joseph Murphy as new head of protocol March 22.

Archbishop Becciu is also one of the three new Italian cardinals.

Archbishop Angelo De Donatis, the Pope’s vicar for the diocese of Rome, will be a cardinal. This appointment negates rumors that Pope Francis did not want his vicar in Rome, who oversees the leadership of the Diocese of Rome, to be a cardinal. Actually, the pope’s vicar is supposed to be a cardinal, according to a consistorial decree issued by Pope Paul IV in the 16th century.
 
With this appointment, the Diocese of Rome could have even more impact in a future conclave, considering that Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Archbishop De Donatis predecessor as Pope’s vicar of Rome, is 78, and so he still has the right to vote in a conclave.
 
As the Pope already did with the bishops of Ancona, Perugia and Agrigento, a red birretta will go to another Italian archbishop from a traditionally non-cardinatial diocese: Giuseppe Petrocchi of L’Aquila, the city still rebuilding after a huge earthquake in 2009.
 
It is noteworthy that Archbishops of Turin and Patriarch of Venice still have not gotten the red birretta, though their archdioceses have been traditionally led by cardinals. The Patriarch of Venice, as a patriarch, can wear red vestments,however, although he is not a cardinal.
 
The pope did not include in the list the new Archbishop of Milan, Mario Delpini. However, Archbishop Delpini’s predecessor at the helm of the world biggest diocese, Cardinal Angelo Scola, is still below 80.
 
Pope Francis also awarded with a red hat to Bishop Antonio Marto, of Leiria-Fatima, Portugal. He is the first cardinal from the diocese of the apparitions, and he is created cardinal one year after Pope Francis was in Fatima for the 100th anniversary of the apparitions and for the canonization of the two visionaries.
 
Perhaps the pope wanted to show his deep personal devotion to the Fatima message.
 
The list of new cardinals includes only one representative from Latin America, Archbishop Pedro Barretto from Huancayo, Peru. The pope and Archbishop Barreto met in the 80s. Archbishop Barreto is vice president of the Peruvian bishops’ conference and represents the Latin American bishops’ conference (CELAM) within REPAM, the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network. His appointment is likely intended to give more weight to preparations for the 2019 Special Synod for Pan-Amazonian Region.

 

Chilean bishop suspends 12 priests, apologizes for not acting sooner

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.

Pope Francis: Like Mary, the Church is a mother

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.”

La Confraternidad de la Doctrina Cristiana aprueba $46.729 en subvenciones para "fomentar respuestas prácticas" a la alfabetización bíblica

 WASHINGTON—Esta primavera, la Confraternidad de la Doctrina Cristiana (CCD, por sus siglas en inglés) otorgó subvenciones por un monto de $46.729 para tres proyectos que apoyan los objetivos de la CCD para promover la alfabetización bíblica católica y la interpretación bíblica católica.

La CCD trabaja con la Asociación Bíblica Católica (CBA, por sus siglas en inglés) para ofrecer estas subvenciones aceptando solicitudes solo de la CBA, incluyendo a la organización misma, sus designados y sus miembros activos y asociados. En fidelidad a "Dei Verbum", el objetivo de la CBA es promover el estudio académico en las Escrituras y campos relacionados mediante reuniones de la asociación, publicaciones y apoyo a quienes participan en dichos estudios.

El Obispo Robert J. Brennan, Obispo Auxiliar de la Diócesis de Rockville Centre y miembro del Comité de Enlace entre CCD y CBA comentó: "Es motivador ver el renovado interés en la alfabetización bíblica en todos los niveles de formación y vida de la Iglesia. Me alegra que las subvenciones de CCD y CBA fomenten respuestas prácticas a este interés".

Los fondos para estas subvenciones provienen de las regalías recibidas de la publicación de la New American Bible y sus obras derivadas que la Asociación Bíblica Católica desarrolla, publica, promueve y distribuye.

Los tres proyectos patrocinados por la CCD son los siguientes.

  • $10.000 al Dr. Timothy Carmody (Profesor, Director del Programa de Posgrado del Spring Hill College en St. Mobile, Alabama) para el desarrollo y la enseñanza de tres cursos en Estudios Bíblicos de candidatos a diáconos de primer año de la Diócesis de Jackson, MS. Los tres cursos proporcionarán una Introducción a los Estudios Bíblicos y la Revelación, así como estudios en profundidad de los Profetas y los Evangelios sinópticos.

 

  • $12.679 al Dr. Mahri Leonard-Fleckman (Profesor Asistente en el Providence College en Rhode Island) para una estadía de dos meses en Israel para facilitar el trabajo en la "École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem" y en una excavación arqueológica para desarrollar un libro sobre cómo la Biblia y la evidencia arqueológica podrían proporcionar juntas un mejor entendimiento tanto de la sociedad antigua como del texto bíblico.

 

  • $24.050 al Dr. Rafael Ramírez (Profesor asistente afiliado en la Neuhoff School of Ministry en la Universidad de Dallas en Texas) para el financiamiento de una beca en el Programa MTS de Estudios Bíblicos en ese centro de estudios. Después de graduarse, el beneficiario de la beca va a enseñar en la Escuela Católica Bíblica.

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Palabras clave: Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos, USCCB, Confraternidad de la Doctrina Cristiana, CCD, Asociación Bíblica Católica, CBA, Obispo Robert J. Brennan, Diócesis de Rockville Centre, Comité de Educación Católica, Dei Verbum, New American Bible, beca bíblica, programas pastorales, literatura bíblica, alfabetización bíblica católica, interpretación bíblica católica, subvenciones.

 

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Contactos de prensa:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Miguel Guilarte

202-541-3202

Catholic Dioceses Contribute More Than $58.7 Million to Recovery Efforts in the Wake of 2017 Hurricanes and Mexico Earthquakes

WASHINGTON—In response to the destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and earthquakes in Mexico, Catholics across the United States have contributed nearly $59 million to relief and recovery efforts. Initiated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), special collections and funds were launched last year to support humanitarian relief efforts as well as to provide pastoral services and financial support to rebuild facilities in dioceses impacted by these disasters.

"The devastation wrought by last year's unprecedented disasters continues to impact the lives of our brothers and sisters in the United States, across the Caribbean, and in Mexico. We are profoundly grateful to the dioceses that took up special collections or made donations," said Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi, chairman of the USCCB Committee on National Collections "The support of parishioners is an act of charity and a reflection of love for neighbor. We ask for continued prayers of support for the people affected by these historic natural disasters."

As of mid-May 2018, US dioceses have remitted the following amounts for relief efforts:

Hurricane Harvey – $37.2 Million

Hurricane Irma – $12.8 Million

Hurricane Maria – $6.1 Million

Mexico Earthquakes – $3.5 Million

Humanitarian relief and recovery efforts are being provided by Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). CCUSA is receiving 50% of Hurricane Harvey funds and 30% of both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria funds; CRS is receiving 20% of Hurricane Irma funds. Initial funding from the special collections supported immediate needs such as food, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter. Long-term disaster recovery is currently underway. CCUSA recently distributed $13.5 million to nine Catholic Charities agencies in Texas and Louisiana where Hurricane Harvey affected countless people.

In response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, CRS worked with Caritas Havana in Cuba to provide roofing and mattresses to affected families. In the British Virgin Islands, CRS, Caritas Antilles and the British Red Cross set up a joint cash program to help 740 families buy essential items. In Dominica, CRS and Caritas Antilles distributed 750 hygiene kits, 1,590 tarps, 920 buckets and 660 water filters to more than 600 families in four communities in the hardest-hit southeastern region. In the Dominican Republic, CRS partners provided 1,970 families with vouchers for food, hygiene and living supplies, and 330 families with hygiene kits. Teams also worked with the local health ministry to raise awareness about health and hygiene, particularly the danger of waterborne diseases and other health risks.

Two Mexico earthquakes days apart killed nearly 500 people in September 2017 and destroyed homes, infrastructure and utilities, CRS, Caritas Mexico and local partners constructed transitional shelters and distributed 2,859 tarps to vulnerable families. They set up communal cooking facilities to ensure daily hot meals and provided living supplies, including kitchen sets and locally made clay ovens. CRS and its partners also arranged counseling for 1,040 children and young people dealing with grief, distress and trauma from the earthquakes. Moving forward, CRS will train people to build back better using disaster-resilient construction techniques, and to maintain their shelters. In four communities, community-based disaster response teams are being trained in first aid. This outreach was done through CRS's direct fundraising efforts.

The USCCB Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions is managing the US Church share of Hurricane Harvey (50%), Hurricane Irma (30%) and Hurricane Maria (55%) funds. The Subcommittee has awarded $14 million in Hurricane Harvey grants, and $3 million in Hurricane Irma grants to assist with Church repairs to parishes and schools in dioceses impacted by the hurricanes. Requests from dioceses for Hurricane Maria support will be considered at the Subcommittee's June 14 meeting.

The USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America is managing the Caribbean Church share of Hurricane Irma (20%) and Hurricane Maria (15%) funds, as well as all contributions to the Mexico Earthquakes fund.

Distributions to the responding organizations will continue to be made as funds are received.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, National Collections, Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria, Mexico Earthquakes, Gospel, charity, media, internet, print

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Approves $46,729 in Grants to “Foster Practical Responses” to Biblical Literacy

WASHINGTON—This spring, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) awarded grants in the amount of $46,729 for three projects that support the goals of the CCD to promote Catholic biblical literacy and Catholic biblical interpretation.

The CCD works with the Catholic Biblical Association (CBA) to offer these grants accepting applications only from the CBA, including the organization itself, its designees, and its full and associate members. In fidelity to Dei Verbum, the CBA's purpose is to promote scholarly study in Scripture and related fields by meetings of the association, publications, and support to those engaged in such studies.

Bishop Robert J. Brennan, Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Centre and Member of the CCD-CBA Liaison Committee, commented, "It is heartening to see the renewed interest in Biblical literacy at every level of formation and Church life. I am glad that the CCD-CBA grants will foster practical responses to this interest."

Funding for these grants comes from the royalties received from the publication of the New American Bible and its derivative works which the CCD develops, publishes, promotes, and distributes.

The three projects sponsored by the CCD are as follows:

  • $10,000 to Dr. Timothy Carmody (Professor, Graduate Program Director, Spring Hill College, St. Mobile, Alabama) for the development and teaching of three courses in Biblical Studies of first year deacon candidates of the Diocese of Jackson, MS. The three courses will provide an Introduction to Biblical Studies and Revelation as well as in-depth studies of the Prophets, and the synoptic Gospels.
  • $12,679 to Dr. Mahri Leonard-Fleckman (Assistant Professor, Providence College, Rhode Island) for a two-month stay in Israel to facilitate work at the École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem and on an archaeological dig to develop a book on how the Bible and archaeological evidence might together provide a better understanding of both the ancient society and the biblical text.
  • $24,050 to Dr. Rafael Ramirez (Affiliate Assistant Professor, University of Dallas, Neuhoff School of Ministry, Texas) for the funding of one scholarship for the MTS/Biblical Studies program at the University of Dallas Neuhoff School of Ministry. Upon graduation, the scholarship recipient will teach in the Escuela Catolica Biblica.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, CCD, Catholic Biblical Association, CBA, Bishop Robert J. Brennan, Diocese of Rockville Centre, CCD-CBA Liaison Committee, Dei Verbum, New American Bible, biblical scholarship, pastoral programs, biblical literacy, biblical interpretation, grants

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

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

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 accept himself and his same-sex attraction, 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 [of sexual abuse].”

“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 causes of homosexuality.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church 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 Catechism also states that “deep-seated” homosexual inclination is "objectively disordered," and 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 Vatican has not yet confirmed or clarified the comments that Cruz said the Pope made regarding homosexuality.

 

 

This story has been updated after its original publication.

 

U.S. Bishops’ Chairmen Applaud Kansas and Oklahoma for Enacting Laws that Keep Kids First in Foster Care and Adoption Services

WASHINGTON—By enacting laws protecting the conscience rights of adoption and foster care providers, "Kansas and Oklahoma are keeping kids first," said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

The governors of Kansas and Oklahoma on May 18 and May 11, respectively, signed legislation ensuring that faith-based adoption and foster care providers can provide these services in accordance with their deeply held religious beliefs or moral convictions.

The three USCCB chairmen stated the following:

"Kansas and Oklahoma are keeping kids first by allowing all capable adoption and foster care providers to serve children in need. The opioid crisis has caused a large increase in the number of children entering the foster care system. We need more, not fewer, agencies to serve children who need loving homes."

At least nine states have now passed similar laws, including Virginia, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and now Kansas and Oklahoma. These laws do not exclude any providers or prohibit anyone from adopting but merely ensure the inclusion of faith-based providers.

At the federal level, the USCCB supports the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2017 (H.R. 1881 / S. 811), which protects child welfare providers from being discriminated against by federal or state government entities due to the providers' religious beliefs or moral convictions.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank Dewane, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Bishop James Conley, USCCB, Kansas Adoption Protection Act, Oklahoma Senate Bill 1140, Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, adoption, foster care, keep kids first, freedom to serve

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200