Browsing News Entries
Posted on 08/22/2019 05:00 AM (CNA - Saint of the Day)
Posted on 08/22/2019 01:30 AM (A Concord Pastor Comments)
|Photo by Eileen Dowdy Beaudoin|
We gush over sunsets, Lord,
paying far too little attention to sister moon
in all her lustrous, silver beauty...
The moon, Lord:
your lunar nightlight in the sky
pulling tides from low to high
waxing. waning, month to month,
playing hide-and-seek with me
behind thin veils of feathered clouds...
Your glory never fails, Lord,
your beauty never fades
but burns throughout the night 'til dawn,
keeping vigil in your gracious light:
a light no darkness can extinguish,
no cloud completely cover,
no sundown ever dim or douse...
Shine on me, O Lord,
shine in all your shimmering brilliance:
let no darkness ever hide me
from the light that is my life,
the life that is my peace,
the peace I find in you...
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Posted on 08/22/2019 00:49 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Washington D.C., Aug 21, 2019 / 05:49 pm (CNA).- The White House announced on Wednesday that it would look to terminate court-approved limits on detention of migrant children and families, allowing for indefinite detention. The announcement drew strong criticism from a leading Catholic immigration group.
“These changes would expand the number of children who will be detained and are in direct opposition to the child-friendly provisions in the Flores agreement,” said Anna Gallagher, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC).
Gallagher added that the action “would destroy long-term child protection standards created by our government and the courts.”
The White House’s new rule will seek to terminate the Flores Settlement Agreement, a court-approved national policy on the treatment of migrants by U.S. government agencies. The new rule must be approved by a federal judge before it can go into effect.
“To protect these children from abuse, and stop this illegal flow, we must close these loopholes. This is an urgent humanitarian necessity,” President Donald Trump stated.
Under previous court rulings, the administration said it had to allow most migrant children and families to leave detention centers after 20 days; a new proposed rule, the “Apprehension, Processing, Care, and Custody of Alien Minors and Unaccompanied Alien Children,” would remove time limits and allow for indefinite detention.
The rule would ensure the care and safety of children in detention and protect them from smugglers, the White House said in its announcement; smugglers have been taking advantage of the previous policy by promising migrants a quick release if they were to be apprehended by U.S. law enforcement, and by bringing children and adults together to pose as migrant families at the border, the White House said.
In a press conference, Kevin K. McAleenan, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, emphasized that the facilities holding families under the new rule are “campus-like settings with appropriate medical, educational, recreational, dining, and private housing facilities.”
However, CLINIC, established by the U.S. bishops in 1988, called the administration’s proposal last September an “abomination.”
Gallagher said on Wednesday that “clinical studies demonstrate that the mitigating presence of parents does not negate or lighten the serious and adverse effect of detention on the physical and mental health of children.” The organization has also said that the administration’s policy would allow it to set the conditions for migrants in detention centers with lesser independent oversight, threatening the due process of migrants.
In June of 2018, a group of human rights officials at the United Nations stated of the U.S. policy of detaining children and separating families at the border that “detention of children is punitive, severely hampers their development, and in some cases may amount to torture.”
The number of “family unit aliens” apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border has soared in Fiscal Year 2019, the White House says, increasing by more than 300 percent; more than 430,000 “family unit aliens” have been apprehended in FY 2019.
Posted on 08/21/2019 16:30 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Tallahassee, Fla., Aug 21, 2019 / 09:30 am (CNA).- The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops is pleading for Gov. Ron DeSantis to stop the execution of Gary Ray Bowles, who confessed to murdering six men during a six month period in 1994.
“As we approach the date of Gary Ray Bowles’ scheduled execution, we urge you to grant a stay,” said an Aug. 14 letter, signed by Michael B. Sheedy, the executive director of the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the state’s bishops.
Bowles’ execution is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Aug. 22. He was first sentenced to death in May 1996, after pleading guilty to the murder of Walter “Jay” Hinton, and then re-sentenced to death in 1999 after his initial death sentence was overturned. While in prison for Hinton’s murder, he was convicted of three other murders, and sentenced to two life sentences.
When Bowles was arrested for Hinton’s death, he admitted that he had killed a total of six people. As Bowles’ crime spree spread from Jacksonville, Florida to Montgomery County, Maryland, he was dubbed the “I-95 Killer.”
He killed men in three states, two of which presently use the death penalty. At the time of the crimes, the death penalty was legal in all three states.
Bowles met most of his victims in gay bars, and offered to have sex with them in exchange for money. He would then beat and strangle the men to death, and rob them. At the time he was arrested, he was on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.
The letter said that while Bowles’ “violent actions” ended the lives of six people, and caused “great grief” to their loved ones, “each of us is more than the worst thing we have done.”
“Mr. Bowles is more than a man who committed multiple murders,” said the bishops’ conference.
“He is a human being who survived many years of childhood abuse and, after escaping his stepfather’s violence as a young teenager, endured years of homelessness and child prostitution.”
“Neuroscientific research has found that such traumatic experiences severely affect a child’s developing brain, and thus affect subsequent behavior,” the letter added.
The bishops’ conference wrote that Bowles does not pose a danger to society as long as he remains in prison without parole, and that the death penalty is not necessary. Instead, “premeditated, state-sanctioned homicide of Mr. Bowles would only perpetuate the cycle of violence that victimized him, and which he later perpetuated.”
“Killing him will only further erode the sense of the sacredness of human life and implicate us all – the citizens of the State of Florida – in his death.”
On Wednesday and Thursday, Florida Catholics, as well as others opposed to the death penalty, will be gathering at locations around the state, including the governor’s mansion and across the highway from the Florida State Prison’s Execution Building. They say they will be praying for Bowles, his victims, the families of the victims, and for an end to the death penalty.
If Bowles is executed, he will be the 99th person sentenced to death in Florida since the state reinstituted its death penalty in 1976. His will be the second execution presided over by DeSantis, a practicing Roman Catholic.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the death penalty is today “inadmissable,” because “there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes,” and “more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.”
Posted on 08/21/2019 11:00 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Minneapolis, Minn., Aug 21, 2019 / 04:00 am (CNA).- Archbishop Bernard Hebda of St Paul and Minneapolis reflected in a recent interview on several major milestones: his 60th birthday, 30 years as a priest, and 10 years as a bishop.
In an interview with the Catholic Spirit, the archbishop emphasized the importance of a pastoral heart in the priestly vocation.
“Being a pastor of a diocese is a little bit like being a pastor of a parish. It’s the same desires that you have for being able to make Christ known, being able to serve people, being able to bring the presence of Christ not only through the sacraments but also through God’s word,” he said.
The archbishop celebrated Mass on July 1 at the Cathedral of St. Paul in honor of the 30th anniversary of his priestly ordination. Hebda will also commemorate his 60th birthday on September 3, and 10 years of being a bishop on December 1.
Born in Pittsburgh, Hebda entered Saint Paul Seminary after he graduated from Harvard and received his JD from Columbia Law School. He was ordained in 1989 and, seven years later, he began his role at the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, where he served until he was appointed bishop in 2009.
He said it was initially tough to leave behind a college ministry, where he had been placed as Director of the Newman Center at Slippery Rock University two years prior to his assignment in Rome. However, he said a priest must have a pastoral heart no matter the assignment.
“A priest has to bring a pastoral heart to whatever task is before him. Even if it’s an administrative position, he has to bring to that a pastoral heart,” he said.
“I came to recognize, though, that it was in the work that I was doing (at the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, responsible for interpreting Church law), even though it was very technical, legal work, that I was being given an opportunity to really participate in Christ’s priesthood.”
In any vocation, he said, the most important thing is to place God above all else. He said this fosters acts of service for others.
“I think [God] wants us to put him first in our lives. We love God and we love our neighbor. It’s a way in which we’re also going to have our hearts expanded so that we can serve others, too,” he said.
The archbishop has led Minnesota’s largest archdiocese through a turbulent period. The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in January 2015 amid many abuse claims that had been made possible under Minnesota legislation that opened a temporary window for older claims to be heard in civil court.
Hebda announced in May of last year a $210 million settlement package for victims of sexual abuse.
He is also leading the archdiocese toward a 2021 synod to address pastoral concerns and discern the call of the Holy Spirit.
In preparation for the synod, the archdiocese will have 20 prayer events and spiritual talks. The first one will kick off on September 24. Hebda expressed hope that the process will lead the archdiocese to a richer connection to the Holy Spirit.
“My hope is that we might, together, be able to detect the presence of the Holy Spirit. That we would find reassurance in that. We would be reinvigorated by that realization, as well,” he said.
“I also am trusting that the process will help us to identify priorities for moving forward in a way that’s reflective not only of my own thinking but also the thinking of the faithful of the archdiocese, whether it be our priests, whether it be our lay faithful, whether it be men and women in consecrated life, it will all have a chance to shape the next steps we take as an archdiocese.”
Posted on 08/21/2019 07:01 AM (CNA Daily News - US)
Oklahoma City, Okla., Aug 21, 2019 / 12:01 am (CNA).- The shy and unassuming Blessed Father Stanley Rother, a missionary priest and martyr from a farming family, would likely be surprised to learn that the largest Catholic Church in Oklahoma will bear his name.
On Tuesday, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City announced that it will be breaking ground for the Blessed Stanley Rother shrine in November. The $40 million shrine will seat 2,000 and be the largest Catholic church in the state once it is complete.
The project is the “signature element” of the archdiocese’s first-ever capital campaign, the archdiocese told Oklahoma News 4.
Besides the main church, the shrine site will include a prayer chapel devoted to Bl. Stanley Rother, where he will be buried, religious education and ministry classrooms, and a museum and pilgrim center with artifacts and stories about Rother’s life.
“Padre Francisco”, as Rother was affectionately called at the mission in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala where he served, was shot and killed by masked gunman early in the morning on July 28, 1981, in the midst of the country’s civil war. Rother had refused to call for help, not wanting to endanger anyone else at the mission.
The five-foot-ten, red-bearded missionary priest was from the unassuming town of Okarche, Okla., where the parish, school and farm were the pillars of community life. He went to the same school his whole life and lived with his family until he left for seminary.
In June 2015, the Theological Commission of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints voted to recognize Fr. Stanley Rother as a martyr. Pope Francis recognized his martyrdom in early December 2016, and on Sept. 23, 2017, Rother was beatified at a Mass in Oklahoma City.
“The groundbreaking for the shrine will be a significant moment in the life of the Church in Oklahoma and for the broader community,” Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City told News 4.
“The shrine is being built to honor Blessed Stanley Rother, an Oklahoma original and the first U.S.-born priest and martyr ever beatified. It will be a place of pilgrimage where the faithful will come from near and far to honor Blessed Stanley at his final resting place and to seek his intercession for their many needs. It will be a place of welcome, serving all people.”
The groundbreaking for the shrine is set to take place at 3 p.m. on November 3 in Oklahoma City.
Posted on 08/21/2019 00:12 AM (A Concord Pastor Comments)
Posted on 08/20/2019 23:00 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
New York City, N.Y., Aug 20, 2019 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- A new commitment by business leaders to move past pure profit, and commit to employees, communities, and the environment, echoes what the Church has been teaching about business for years, a Catholic scholar has said.
On Monday, chief executives on the Business Roundtable—181 CEOs of corporations like Apple, Amazon, Wal Mart, banks and other businesses from various industries—issued a new joint Statement on the “Purpose of a Corporation.”
The updated statement alters more than 20 years of policy that previously held that the primary duty of a company is to provide profit for its shareholders. The Business Roundtable has issued regular statements on corporate governance since 1978, and in 1997 stated that “the principal objective of a business enterprise is to generate economic returns to its owners.”
Now, the roundtable lists several other commitments of business leaders in addition to shareholder profit, including investing in employees through training programs, dealing ethically and fairly with suppliers, and caring for the environment and for local communities.
“I think it’s a really good move,” Professor Andrew Abela, Dean of the Busch School of Business at the Catholic University of America, told CNA.
“Church teaching has been, I think, some of the most sensible teaching on the role of a business anywhere,” he said, to “make a profit as well as to serve society.”
The statement reflects those principles, Abela said.
“It’s something that the Church has been saying for decades,” Abela said, noting that the new announcement is not an “about-face” on the priorities of corporations, but is rather “an expansion of the understanding of the purpose of the firm.”
The statement will need to be put into action to be effective, but it gives “cover” to any business owner who claims that a company has duties to employees and local communities along with shareholders, Abela said.
“It is significant, in terms of language. I think a question is, will it also be significant in terms of a change to policies?” Martijn Cremers, dean of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, told CNA. He added that such a statement provides a means of holding the executives “accountable.”
A Vatican document from May of 2018 explained the role of shareholders in ethical business dealings. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued its “Considerations for an ethical discernment regarding some aspects of the present economic-financial system,” saying that a business operates as “a true intermediate social body” within a “social fabric.”
When a business pursues profit at all costs, the document said, “every ethical claim is really perceived as irrelevant.”
This mindset leads to the promotion of “greedy and unscrupulous” executives, the document states. Furthermore, primacy is then given to shareholder profit and not to the well-being of employees, consumers and stakeholders, producing “a profoundly amoral culture—in which one often does not hesitate to commit a crime when the foreseen benefits exceed the expected penalty.”
What the Church teaches is not a set of rules for business but “a way of life,” Abela said. “Running a corporation well” involves various duties both “effective” and “ethical,” he said, including “taking care of your employees, taking care of your customers, taking care of the communities in which the corporation works.”
This reflects a “cooperative” mindset that Pope Benedict talked about in his 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate, emphasizing the need for businesses to consider the needs not only of shareholders but all stakeholders--communities, customers, employees, society as a whole, and the environment.
More corporations are moving towards this more “inclusive” business model that operates for the long-term, Cremers said, with an increase in technology and “intangible assets” underlining the need for relationships and “long-term investments.”
“And that is also why I think the statement now is timely,” he said, pointing to a 2018 letter to CEOs from Larry Fink, the CEO of the financial planning and investment management firm BlackRock; Fink stated that “a company’s ability to manage environmental, social, and governance matters demonstrates the leadership and good governance that is so essential to sustainable growth.”
The Business Roundtable statement expands upon that, Cremers said, explicitly stating the goal of “generating long-term value for shareholders” and not just short-term profits.
Shareholders “are the owners of the corporation” and have property rights, Abela said, but other duties must be looked to as well. “And if you don’t do that, you’re not going to be long-term successful as a corporation, as a business.”
The Church teaches private property rights in conjunction with the “universal destination of goods,” Abela said, “the idea that the goods of this world are for the good of all.”
“What that means is if you own property, you ought to use that property to serve others,” he said.
A New York Times article on the statement noted that it did not address the pay of executives being tens or even hundreds of times greater than lower-level employees.
“It’s a controversial issue,” Abela acknowledged, saying that unjust pay is wrong and that executives should not be paid exorbitant salaries if a company is performing poorly.
However, he said, “if a firm is doing well and paying its employees fairly, and making tons of money for its investors, then I don’t think anyone should put any limits on how much the CEO is being paid. It’s a rare skill to run a large corporation, a large complex corporation, especially in this litigious age.”
Posted on 08/20/2019 19:16 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Cheyenne, Wyo., Aug 20, 2019 / 12:16 pm (CNA).- Four new sex abuse allegations have been raised against Emeritus Bishop Joseph Hart, spanning his time both as a priest in Missouri and a bishop in Wyoming.
Jack Smith, a spokesman for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, said the allegations were brought forward by either the alleged victims or their family members, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.
He said the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph “has turned over all information we have about allegations pertaining to Bishop Hart to the Diocese of Cheyenne, which I understand they have shared with local law enforcement in Cheyenne.”
More than a dozen total accusations of sexual abuse have been raised against the former bishop. The new allegations come from his time in both Cheyenne and Kansas City-St. Joseph, although all of the alleged victims were Missouri residents.
Hart has been accused in lawsuits of taking minors on trips and giving them alcohol and marijuana, then abusing them.
Kansas City attorney Rebecca Randles, who has represented some of the individuals accusing Hart of abuse, said the bishop would party with two other priests in Kansas City who have also been accused of sexual abuse.
Police in Wyoming last week recommended that two clerics accused of sexually abusing male juveniles in the 1970s and '80s be criminally charged, the Casper Star-Tribune reported. The clerics were unnamed in the report.
A press release from the police said its investigation “stems from a case initiated in 2002 that was reopened in 2018,” the Casper daily reported Aug. 14.
In July 2018 the Diocese of Cheyenne announced that Emeritus Bishop Joseph Hart had been credibly accused of sexually assaulting two boys after he became Bishop of Cheyenne in 1976, following an investigation of charges ordered by its current bishop.
In 2002, a Wyoming man accused the bishop of sexually abusing him as a boy, both during sacramental confession and on outings. The alleged abuse took place after Hart had become a bishop.
The Natrona County district attorney in 2002 had put forward a report saying there was no evidence to support the allegations that originated in Wyoming.
The Cheyenne diocese said in July 2018 that it “now questions that conclusion.”
According to the diocese, Bishop Steven Biegler, the present ordinary, had ordered a “fresh, thorough investigation” because the claims against Hart had not been resolved.
In December 2017, the bishop retained an outside investigator who obtained “substantial new evidence” and who concluded the district attorney’s 2002 investigation was flawed. The investigator concluded that Bishop Hart had sexually abused two boys in Wyoming.
The diocesan review board, after reviewing the report, concurred with the investigator, finding the allegations “credible and substantiated.” The diocese reported the alleged abuse to the Cheyenne district attorney in March 2018, and Cheyenne police opened an investigation.
The diocese said it reported the allegations of abuse as required by its own policy, the national Catholic Church policy, and Wyoming law.
In August 2018, the diocese announced it had found credible a third allegation of child sexual abuse committed by Bishop Hart.
“A third individual reported that he, too, was sexually abused by Bishop Hart in 1980,” the diocese said. This third person reported the abuse after the diocese's announcement there was “credible and substantiated” evidence that Bishop Hart had abused two Wyoming boys.
This third allegation was also reported to the Cheyenne Police Department.
Bishop Hart has denied accusations of abusing minors.
His first accusers came forward in 1989, when he was alleged to have abused boys while serving as a priest in Kansas City. Ten individuals named Hart in lawsuits related to child sexual abuse claims dating from the 1970s. These accusations were part of settlements the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph reached in 2008 and 2014, though Bishop Hart denied the accusations, the Missouri diocese said July 2.
Bishop Hart was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Kansas City–St. Joseph in 1956, where he served until he was named an auxiliary bishop in Cheyenne in 1976, and appointed to lead the diocese two years later. He served as Bishop of Cheyenne until his resignation in 2001 at the age of 70.
In June the Cheyenne diocese released a list of substantiated allegations of sexual abuse against minors or vulnerable adults. The release listed allegations against 11 clerics who had served in the diocese.
Posted on 08/20/2019 16:30 PM (CNA Daily News - US)
Charleston, S.C., Aug 20, 2019 / 09:30 am (CNA).- The bishop of Charleston, South Carolina announced he will reduce his public appearances after being named in a lawsuit filed in New York. Bishop Robert Guglielmone announced that he is stepping back from visible leadership of the diocese as he defends himself against an accusation of sexual abuse.
In a letter to the faithful of the diocese, dated Friday and intended for distribution to parishes ahead of Sunday Masses, Guglielmone insisted that he was wholly innocent of the accusation made against him and would fight to clear his name.
“As you know, a lawsuit has been filed against me alleging that I have committed a grievous act,” said the bishop in the Aug. 16 letter.
“This false accusation against me has no merit whatsoever; I have vigorously defended myself and will continue to do so.”
Guglielmone has repeatedly stated that the accusations are false and is said to be cooperating fully with a Church investigation. As this process continues, he said, his concern is that continuing in a visible role in the diocese would be a “distraction” from other diocesan priorities and he will “temporarily reduce” his public presence for the foreseeable future.
“I do not want to distract the focus from the important ministries of the Church in South Carolina–including creating safe environments for our children,” he said.
In the letter, Guglielmone reiterated that all child abuse is “despicable.”
The suit against Guglielmone was filed on August 14, the first day of a one-year period where abuse survivors may file claims against their abusers or the institutions which shielded their abusers, regardless of the statute of limitations.
This one-year period was created by the passage of the Child Victims Act, which changed New York’s statute of limitations for child sexual abuse.
The suit alleges that Guglielmone sexually abused a young man over a period of years while he was serving as pastor of St. Martin of Tours parish in Amityville, starting in 1978.
The Diocese of Charleston said that, when first made, the accusation was initially determined not to be credible, though civil law enforcement was notified of the claims. Following the re-presentation of the allegation, the Vatican was informed and has initiated a full investigation, with which Guglielmone is said to be “cooperating fully.”
It is not clear when the allegations were first made, and the diocese has not confirmed who is conducting the investigation.
Both the vicars general of the Diocese of Charleston have released a statement of support for the bishop, calling him “a trusted leader of our diocese for more than ten years.”
Msgr. Richard Harris and Msgr. Anthony Droze both said that they had “utmost faith in [Guglielmone’s] truthfulness and in his innocence.”
Guglielmone has been the Bishop of Charleston since 2009.