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Vatican News - English

Pope urges Latin American priests to create communion and be close to their people

Nov 15 2018
Pope Francis on November 15 spoke to the some 100 student priests and staff of the Collegio Pio Latino, or the Latin American College of Rome, on the occasion of its 160th anniversary.

Pope and Pope Emeritus write in support of Ratzinger Foundation

Nov 15 2018
Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI have both sent letters to Fr. Federico Lombardi, President of the Ratzinger Foundation, for the inauguration of its 2018 Symposium.

Order of Malta joins Pope in inviting all to mark World Day of the Poor

Nov 15 2018
Sunday, 19 November is the second World Day of the Poor, established by Pope Francis to mark the end of the 2016 Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.

WWI: Papal diplomacy during and after The Great War

Nov 15 2018
Following a series of commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, this week attention turns to a world post-WWI, and Papal diplomacy.

‘Gospel Truth’ for November 18, 2018

Nov 15 2018
Listen to this week's edition of our reflections on the Gospel reading for the thirty-third Sunday in ordinary time, where Jesus speaks of His second coming, prepared by Jill Bevilacqua.

CNA Daily News

Celebrations begin for 500th anniversary of first Mass in Chile

Nov 15 2018

Punta Arenas, Chile, Nov 15, 2018 / 10:56 am (ACI Prensa).- A Eucharistic procession through the Patagonian city of Punta Arenas launched the 500th anniversary commemorations of the first Mass celebrated in Chile.

Friar Pedro de Valderrama, the chaplain for the expedition of the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, offered Mass on Sunday, Nov. 11, 1520 in Fortescue Bay on the shores of the Strait of Magellan.

This Holy Mass at the extreme southern tip of Chile became the first Eucharist celebrated in the South American country.

On Nov. 11, the faithful from different communities gathered at the Human Rights Plaza in downtown Punta Arenas, the capital of the Magallanes Region, for a period of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament to help launch this major celebration, which will close on Nov. 11, 2020.

Bishop Bernardo Bastres of Punta Arenas, led the prayers and a Eucharistic procession to the Punta Arenas cathedral.

When participants arrived at the cathedral, the bishop said they were giving “public witness to the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist.”

“Processing down the main street of our city, we gather in our common home, which welcomes us with love, warmth and hope,” he said.

The celebration of the Eucharist then followed. Bishop Bastres reflected on “the mystery of the Eucharist in its two dimensions, that of the celebration which makes Christ really present in the bread and wine, and at the same time the Eucharist invites us to break it, distribute it and share it with others.”

The second dimension, the bishop said, is that “if Christ gives himself to us as food for our lives, we must help everyone to have the necessary food to live in the dignity of a child of God.”

Credit: Diocese of Punta Arenas.

 

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

Pope Francis, Benedict XVI voice support for conference on 'new' human rights

Nov 15 2018

Vatican City, Nov 15, 2018 / 10:31 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis and XVI have written letters lending their support to a Vatican-sponsored conference on the risks posed to fundamental human rights.

In a letter on a Nov. 15-16 international symposium in Rome, Benedict wrote that he believes it “extraordinarily useful” to make a close examination of the issue of the “multiplication of rights” and the risk this poses.

Pope Francis, in his own letter on the conference, pointed to Benedict XVI as having “lucidly warned of the urgency of these issues for our time,” and having “intervened authoritatively on them as a thinker and as a pastor.”

The symposium, which is on the theme of “fundamental rights and conflicts between rights,” is being organized by the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI foundation headed by Fr. Federico Lombardi. It is being held at LUMSA, a Catholic university in Rome.

Addressing Lombardi, the former director of the Holy See press office, Benedict wrote that the issue of increasing “rights” is a “current and fundamental question to protect the foundations of the coexistence of the human family,” and is a topic deserving of “an in-depth and systematic reflection.”

The pope emeritus concluded the brief letter with a promise of his esteem and prayers for the event’s speakers and participants, asking the Lord’s blessing on their work “as a precious service for the Church and for the good of the human family.”

In his own letter to Lombardi, Pope Francis pointed to the upcoming 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, noting the appropriateness of having “an in-depth reflection on its implementation and on developing the vision of human rights in today’s world.”

The pope said about the symposium that the changing interpretation of certain rights and the appearance of “new rights,” especially in recent years, “opens up a series of problems that tend to involve, at bottom, the very idea of law and its foundations.”

He praised the pope emeritus’ interventions on the issue of human rights and noted that it was for that reason LUMSA bestowed on Benedict XVI an honorary degree in jurisprudence 20 years ago.

“I therefore hope,” Francis continued, “that the Symposium of high academic level that is about to be celebrated, drawing inspiration from the thought and the magisterium of our beloved Pope Emeritus, can contribute with courage and depth to illuminate an essential problem for the protection of the dignity of the human person and his integral development.”

Sudan Christians released after arrest, torture for converting from Islam

Nov 15 2018

Al-Fashir, Sudan, Nov 15, 2018 / 09:45 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A group of 13 Christian converts in Darfur, Sudan was arrested and tortured last month for their faith, World Watch Monitor and several Christian aid groups have reported.

The Christians were reportedly taken from a home in southwest Darfur on October 13 and detained and beaten. Some were released shortly after their arrest, while the rest were released on October 21.

According to the Barnabas Fund, an aid group that supports persecuted Christians, those who were arrested had converted from Islam to Christianity, and were being punished for apostasy and pressured to convert back to Islam.

Sharia law remains the dominating system of law in Sudan. While 2005 amendments to the country’s constitution removed some references to Sharia, Sudan President Omar al-Bashir in 2011 vowed a stricter adherence to Sharia law.

Tajadin Idris Yousef, the pastor of the group, who was also arrested, was then made to appear before a court on October 28 for refusing to recant his faith while in police custody.

According to World Watch Monitor, he faces apostasy charges and must report to local authorities every three days. Nine of the men arrested recanted their Christian faith. They were forced to pay fines, and were ultimately charged with “disturbing the peace.”

Sudan ranks fourth on Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of most difficult places for Christians to live, after North Korea, Afghanistan, and Somalia.

Virginia Catholics praise dismissal of assisted suicide by state legislature

Nov 15 2018

Arlington, Va., Nov 15, 2018 / 03:49 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Virginia Catholics are praising the decision of a joint commission of the state legislature to take no action on a study on assisted suicide.

Last year, Del. Kaye Kory (D-Fairfax) asked the Virginia state legislature to consider legalizing so-called “medical aid-in-dying” or physician-assisted suicide.

After receiving public comment, the Joint Commission on Health Care, which was tasked with studying the issue, voted 10-6 on November 7 to take no action on the issue.

“I was very pleased to receive the news that the Virginia Joint Commission on Health Care rejected efforts that might ultimately have led to the legalization of physician-assisted suicide in our commonwealth,” Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington told the Arlington Catholic Herald.  

“The commission received nearly 3,000 public comments against legalizing assisted suicide, and comments against assisted suicide outnumbered comments for assisted suicide 8-1! I thank the leadership of the Virginia Catholic Conference, the Arlington Diocese’s Office for Marriage, Family and Respect Life and so many citizens, especially among our Catholic faithful, for standing up for life!” he added.

In a statement posted to the Virginia Catholic Conference website, director of the conference Jeff Caruso said that voters’ voices had been “heard loud and clear” on the issue.

“In prayer and in public, your voices are urgently needed to bring Gospel values to bear on vital decisions being made by those who represent you,” he said.

Of the 3,000 comments against assisted suicide received by the commission, about 2,000 of them them were submitted through the Catholic Conference, Caruso told the Arlington Catholic Herald.

“The gift of life is something that should never be abandoned or discarded and that's the principal that was upheld by the joint commission,” he said.

Caruso said it was “very significant” that the commission declined to take action on assisted suicide, because it is something that could be helpful in the continued fight against legalizing it in the future.

The vote included all of the commission’s Republicans, as well as one vote from a Democrat on the commission. One of the commissioners who voted against assisted suicide was a surgeon, another was a physician.

Del. Scott Garrett (R-Lynchburg), who has experience as a surgeon, told the Virginia Mercury that he voted to take no action because he had witnessed people who had long-outlived their prognosis.

“The resiliency of the human condition is truly an amazing thing,” he said. “Each one of us has certainly, many, many times in our professional careers been faced with somebody who had no chance, they’re going to die in three months, and yet in fact it just wasn’t their time yet.”

The commission did pass several measures to improve health care in the state’s jails and prisons, including actions aimed at improving mental health and substance abuse.

Kory told the Virginia Mercury that she would not propose any assisted suicide legislation this year.

The seven states of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized assisted suicide.

 

Harvard students hold Catholic Sex Week to explain Church teaching

Nov 15 2018

Cambridge, Mass., Nov 15, 2018 / 12:27 am (CNA/EWTN News).- After Sex Week at Harvard University this year, the Catholic Student Association hosted a series of talks designed to offer insight on the Catholic understanding of sexuality.

Hosted Nov. 6-8, this was the first Catholic Sex Week the student organization had conducted. The events followed Harvard Sex Week on Oct. 28-Nov.4, which included discussions on polyamory, fetishes, and contraception.

Jack Clark, vice president of intellectual development for the Catholic Student Association, helped organize Catholic Sex Week, which he said was not a rebuttal to Harvard Sex Week but an opportunity for people to learn a different perspective on sexuality.

“After Harvard Sex Week, we kind of did a few events of our own just to get people talking, to present the Catholic view of sexuality,” Clark told CNA.

“I think the biggest goal was to educate ourselves and to a lesser extent the Harvard community on the reasoning and the belief behind the Catholic view on sex and sexuality.”

The event included three discussions – featuring as speakers Fr Patrick Fiorillo, the undergraduate chaplain; Steve and Helene Bowler, a Catholic married couple; and Dr. Janet Smith, the keynote speaker who also holds the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

At the talk on Tuesday, Fiorillo explained in detail some of the points in Humanae Vitae, the landmark encyclical reaffirming Church teaching against contraception, which marked its 50th anniversary earlier this year.

On Wednesday, married couple Steve and Helene Bowler shared their personal experience transitioning from a failure to live out the Church’s teaching on contraception to an eventual cooperation with it. Clark said the family is sympathetic to the difficulty of this teaching, but emphasized the spiritual growth it has produced.

Smith spoke on Thursday about the topic “Why sex is complicated.” The discussion approached a general understanding of the Catholic teaching on sexuality and how it differed from a do-what-you-want attitude, said Clark.

“Dr. Smith’s talk was really emphasizing the role of sex and how it can’t be separated from real emotional intimacy, from procreation, from the family, and obviously, from a Catholic perspective, we look at men and women as complimentary.”

The first two talks were held at the Catholic center and attracted about 30 people each. The third event was held on campus and welcomed 60 attendees. Jack was not sure if any non-Catholics attended the events, and said he did not yet know if the series would be repeated next year, but he said he sees the talks as a success.

“I don’t think there is a plan to set this up as an annual thing, but we certainly want to build on the moment that we created. I think people are talking about Catholic views on sexuality more than they have been… I am excited to see where that energy goes, whether it is reading groups or discussions or more talks.”
 

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