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From: The site of the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

IMAGE: CNS photo/Eugene Garcia, EPA

By Carolyn Mackenzie

WASHINGTON (CNS) — While Capitol Hill and much of the nation have been following the roller coaster of debate surrounding what will come of GOP efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, some are focused on what President Donald Trump’s proposed tax plan might mean for charitable giving.

His proposed tax plan would place a cap on total itemized deductions, including those for charitable giving. By raising the standard deduction and eliminating the estate tax, experts say that this plan would reduce incentives that often prompt donations to charities.

According to Giving USA’s “Annual Report on Philanthropy,” individual donors drove the rise in philanthropic giving seen in 2016. Giving to religion increased by 3 percent, 1.8 percent adjusted for inflation, in 2016, with an estimated $122.94 billion in contributions. This accounted for 32 percent of all charitable giving in 2016, which totaled at $390.05 billion.

The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy prepares these estimates for the Giving USA Foundation. Though giving rates rose across the board, giving by individuals grew at a higher rate than did giving by foundations or corporations.

Rick Dunham, board member of Giving USA and CEO of Dunham+Company, a consulting company based in Plano, Texas, remarked that two factors that significantly affect charitable giving are the stock market and attendance at religious services.

“When you look at those who give charitably, there’s a direct correlation between those who attend church or religious services at least weekly,” Dunham told Catholic News Service in a phone interview.

Furthermore, Dunham noted, donations by the top 2 percent of income earners account for a large percentage of charitable giving by individuals. As such, the stock market has a direct impact upon charitable giving.

Joseph Rosenberg, senior researcher at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center in Washington, noted that tax incentives are just one of many reasons why people donate to charity. One tax policy that may motivate donations, he explained, is the individual income tax deduction for charitable contributions.

“The clear consensus is that the deduction does increase giving,” Rosenberg told CNS. “It’s unclear how big the size of the effect is.”

While it is theoretically available to all taxpayers, Rosenberg observed, as an itemized deduction it goes unused by most taxpayers, who claim a standard deduction instead.

“Roughly speaking, only about 30 percent of taxpayers elect to itemize deductions,” Rosenberg said. “But, those 30 percent obviously make up a very large chunk of charitable giving, in particular our higher income households.”

Under Trump’s proposed plan, the standard deduction would double. For the 2016 tax year, the standard deduction for singles and married persons filing separate returns was $6,300; under Trump’s plan it would be $12,600. For married couples filing jointly it was $12,600 in 2016; under Trump’s plan it would be $24,000.

Rosenberg indicated that an increase in the standard deduction would result in a decrease in the number of people who itemize their deductions. If people who choose the standard deduction make charitable donations, Rosenberg explained, they are not necessarily paying more taxes than they would if they choose to itemize.

“It does mean that what they’re sort of mentally thinking about is, ‘What if I gave $100 more to charity?'” Rosenberg said. “If they’re not itemizing their deductions, they’re not changing their taxes. They get no additional tax benefit unless they itemize.”

Dunham affirmed that an increase in the standard deduction would likely reduce the amount that people give to charity.

“I don’t believe that the charitable tax deduction is an incentive to give as much as it is an incentive to give more,” Dunham said.

Lucas Swanepoel, senior director of government affairs at Catholic Charities USA, said that with less of an incentive, donations from individuals will likely decrease, calling it an “unintended consequence.”

“If we were to double the standard deduction, only about 5 percent of taxpayers would itemize,” Swanepoel told CNS, citing a study done by Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

The same study found that reducing the top tax bracket to 35 percent and doubling the standard deduction, as outlined in Trump’s plan, could potentially lead to a $13.1 billion reduction in charitable giving, which Dunham also noted. The study further estimates that this would reduce charitable giving to religious congregations by up to 4.7 percent.

“One of the interesting things about the Indiana University study is that it looked at secular givers and religious givers,” Swanepoel said. “Even in religious giving, we see that there is a change in incentive to give based on tax policy.”

A second issue that Rosenberg raised is that of the estate tax, which Trump often refers to as the “death tax.” Trump’s proposal would eliminate the estate tax. Under current tax law, if the decedent leaves property to a qualifying charity, that amount is deductible.

“When people die, they can leave assets to charity and they get a full deduction against the estate tax,” Rosenberg said.

According to Giving USA, giving by bequest accounted for 8 percent, or $30.36 billion, of all charitable giving in 2016.

“There should be some concern about what would happen to charitable bequests if they eliminate the estate tax,” Rosenberg said. “That’s not to say that folks like Warren Buffett wouldn’t leave their money to charity just because they’re not getting a deduction.”

Dunham explained that while giving by bequest accounts for about 8 percent of charitable giving, giving by individuals accounts for about 72 percent. As such, Dunham expressed more concern about the changes that may occur with itemized deductions under Trump’s proposed plan.

Swanepoel highlighted other important aspects of tax policy, such as the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit, that are important for families and low income individuals, explaining that charitable giving is just one dimension of charity in tax law.

“We want to foster a culture of giving, and the tax code is one way in which we help that effort,” Swanepoel said.

Trump’s plan proposes to boost the child and dependent care credit, according to a one-page document distributed by the White House. The Trump administration released this proposal April 26 and hopes to have a tax plan in place before Congress departs for its August recess.

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13 hours 25 min

SportsLeader, a character-building program for Catholic athletes in high school and elementary school, held Its annual Rosary Rally for football programs in the southern part of the archdiocese on the grounds of Cincinnati’s seminary this week.

Eight local teams and a team who traveled four hours from Illinois gathered in a field beside the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West for Eucharistic adoration, the luminous mysteries of the rosary, and a prayer to the Blessed Mother than the coming season helped them become better men, as well as better players.

Father Anthony Brausch, the seminary’s vice rector said the opening prayer; Lou Judd, founder of Sportsleader, made remarks; and Father Ryan Ruiz led the rosary and other prayers. Elder, Moeller, McNicholas, LaSalle, Roger Bacon, and St. Xavier High School teams attended, as did the Bulldogs (a consolidated elementary school team) and about half the team from St. Thomas Moore High School in Illinois, which just adopted SportsLeader this month. A separate rally was held on July 12 for Northern Teams at the Spiritual Center of Maria Stein.

SportsLeader kicked off its Team rosary rally at the Athenaeum four years ago, Judd said. Since then more than 16,000 young men have participated in such rallies, which are designed to bring Catholic school football teams together off the field in a spirit of prayer and friendship.

For information about SportsLeader and to see if your school participates, click here.

St. Gertrude Bulldogs preparing to pray at the 2017 Sportsleader Rosary Rally (CT Photo/Gail FinkeSt. Gertrude Bulldogs preparing to pray at the 2017 Sportsleader Rosary Rally (CT Photo/Gail Finke) The Elder Panthers arrive at the 2017 Sportsleader Rosary Rally. (CT Photo/Gail Finke)The Elder Panthers arrive at the 2017 Sportsleader Rosary Rally. (CT Photo/Gail Finke) Father Brausch addresses the players. (CT Photo/Gail Finke)Father Brausch addresses the players. (CT Photo/Gail Finke) Lou Judd from Sportsleader addresses the players (CT Photo/Gail Finke)Lou Judd from Sportsleader addresses the players (CT Photo/Gail Finke) The Roger Bacon Spartans arrive at the 2017 Sportsleader Rosary Rally (CT Photo/Gail Finke)The Roger Bacon Spartans arrive at the 2017 Sportsleader Rosary Rally (CT Photo/Gail Finke) St. Xavier Bombers take a knee in prayer (CT Photo/Gail Finke)St. Xavier Bombers take a knee in prayer (CT Photo/Gail Finke) Father Ruiz at Benediction with the McNicholas Football Rockets looking on. (CT Photo/Gail Finke)Father Ruiz at Benediction with the McNicholas Football Rockets looking on. (CT Photo/Gail Finke) St. Thomas More from Illinois arrives at the Athenaeum for the 2017 Rosary Rally (CT Photo/Gail Finke)St. Thomas More from Illinois arrives at the Athenaeum for the 2017 Rosary Rally (CT Photo/Gail Finke) The Summit Country Day Silver Knights at the 2017 Sportsleader Rosary Rally (CT Photo/Gail Finke)The Summit Country Day Silver Knights at the 2017 Sportsleader Rosary Rally (CT Photo/Gail Finke)


19 hours 4 min

By Julie Asher

WASHINGTON (CNS) — U.S. senators must reject any bill that would replace the Affordable Care Act unless such a measure “protects poor and vulnerable people, including immigrants, safeguards the unborn and supports conscience rights,” said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ domestic policy committee.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called on the Senate to fix problems with the ACA in a more narrow way, rather than repeal it without an adequate replacement.

“Both the American Health Care Act legislation from the U.S. House of Representatives and the Better Care Reconciliation Act from the Senate were seriously flawed, and would have harmed those most in need in unacceptable ways,” Bishop Dewane said.

The House passed its bill to repeal and replace the ACA health care law May 4 with a close vote of 217 to 213. The Senate’s version collapsed July 17 after four Republican senators said they couldn’t support it, leaving Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, short of the 50 votes needed to bring the bill to the floor for a debate.

“In the face of difficulties passing these proposals, the appropriate response is not to create greater uncertainty, especially for those who can bear it least, by repealing the ACA without a replacement,” he said.

Bishop Dewane made the comments in a June 20 letter to U.S. senators released July 21.

President Donald Trump had lunch with the GOP senators at the White House July 19 in an effort to get them to commit to moving forward a repeal and replace measure. A new Senate draft of a bill was released July 20, and McConnell is expected to hold a vote to begin debate July 25.

Bishop Dewane referred back to a Jan. 18 letter in which the U.S. bishops “encouraged Congress to work in a bipartisan fashion to protect vulnerable Americans and preserve important gains in health care coverage and access.”

That letter reiterated principles he said the bishops laid out when the ACA was being debated in early 2010. “All people need and should have access to comprehensive, quality health care that they can afford, and it should not depend on their stage of life, where or whether they or their parents work, how much they earn, where they live, or where they were born,” the bishops said at the time. “The bishops’ conference believes health care should be truly universal and it should be genuinely affordable.”

“Before any legislation had been proposed, the bishops were clear” in their Jan. 18 letter to lawmakers, Bishop Dewane said, “that a repeal of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act ought not be undertaken without the concurrent passage of a replacement plan that ensures access to adequate health care for the millions of people who now rely upon it for their well-being.

“To end coverage for those who struggle every day without an adequate alternative in place would be devastating,” he said. “Nothing has changed this analysis.”

At the same time, “reform is still needed to address the ACA’s moral deficiencies and challenges with long-term sustainability,” Bishop Dewane said.

“Problems with the ACA can be fixed with more narrow reforms, and in a bipartisan way,” he said, “Congress can extend full Hyde Amendment protections to the ACA, enact laws that protect the conscience rights of all stakeholders in health care, protect religious freedom, and pass legislation that begins to remove current and impending barriers to access and affordability, particularly for those most in need.”

In an analysis issued late July 20, the Congressional Budget office said the new version would still increase the current number of uninsured Americans by 22 million by 2026. In 2016, 28 million people were uninsured last year; in 2010, just over 48 million were uninsured in 2010, the year the ACA was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

It would reduce average premiums in the ACA exchanges by 25 percent in 2026, end the individual and employer mandates, and rescind the Medicaid expansion under the current law. Taxes on investment income and payroll taxes affecting higher-income Americans would remain.

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

19 hours 52 min

On July 20th, the Office for Young Adult Evangelization and Discipleship launched their first in a series of concerts. Chris Cole, a singer song-writer and recording artist based in Baton Rouge, took the crowd on a journey of human experience through song and reflection.

The concert was held in Synod Hall at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in downtown Cincinnati. The formula for the concerts are simply to bring a six pack of your favorite beverage, bring along some friends, and to enjoy an evening of song and fellowship in an intimate setting. For more on the Office for Young Adult Evangelization and Discipleship office, click here.

20 hours 5 min

On July 16, 2017, three Archdiocese of Cincinnati employees embarked on a mission trip to India. Mike Gable Director of the Mission Office, Tony Stieritz Director of Social Action, and Sister Eileen Connelly Managing Editor of The Catholic Telegraph flew to Chennai India. Chennai  the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, it is one of the biggest cultural, economic and educational centres in South India. For the next few weeks, we’ll be posting pictures of their visit, and in the October print edition of The Catholic Telegraph, look for an exclusive story from Sister Eileen Connelly.

Tony Stieritz, Mike Gable, and Sister Eileen Connelly ready to board flight to India. (Courtesy Photo)Tony Stieritz, Mike Gable, and Sister Eileen Connelly ready to board flight to India. (Courtesy Photo) The group was warmly welcomed by priests of the Madras Diocese, where they are staying at the residence of the archbishop.The group was warmly welcomed by priests of the Madras Diocese, where they are staying at the residence of the archbishop.
(Courtesy Photo) Sister Eileen Connelly meeting new friends in Chennai India. (Courtesy Photo)Sister Eileen Connelly meeting new friends in Chennai India. (Courtesy Photo) Map of India and location of Chennai India. On the first day, they visited St. Thomas National Basilica and a Hindu temple, where the group got a photo of a woman in prayer. (Courtesy Photo)On the first day, they visited St. Thomas National Basilica and a Hindu temple, where the group got a photo of a woman in prayer. (Courtesy Photo) On the first day, they visited St. Thomas National Basilica and a Hindu temple, where the group got a photo of a woman in prayer. (Courtesy Photo)On the first day, they visited St. Thomas National Basilica and a Hindu temple, where the group got a photo of a woman in prayer. (Courtesy Photo)

On July 19, 2017 Mike, Tony, and Sister Eileen received a warm welcome at Don Bosco School; visited the Mercy Home, where seniors abandoned by their families receive loving care; and spent time with the adorable children at Kandegai Orphanage.

The crew visited Franciscan Sisters in India

A Day at Asha Nivas

Asha Nivas India A women’s job training program in Asha Nivas

Sister Eileen will have a full story on the October Print Edition of The Catholic Telegraph

1 day 5 hours

By Julie Asher

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. House budget resolution “will place millions of poor and vulnerable people in real jeopardy” because it reduces deficits “through cuts for human needs” and by trying to slash taxes at the same time, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ domestic policy committee.

“A nation’s budget is a moral document,” said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. “Congress should choose a better path, one that honors those struggling in our country.”

Bishop Dewane’s July 20 statement was issued in response to the budget resolution that was voted out of the House Budget Committee along party lines July 19.

The nonbinding Republican measure is a 10-year budget blueprint that calls for $621.5 billion in national defense spending, provides for $511 billion in nondefense spending and ties cuts to a major overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

It makes at least $203 billion in cuts over a decade in Medicaid, food stamps, tax credits for the working poor and other programs that help low-income Americans. The bill also would change Medicare into a type of voucher program for future retirees.

“The USCCB is monitoring the budget and appropriations process in Congress very carefully, and is analyzing the proposed House budget resolution in more detail,” Bishop Dewane said. “We note at the outset that the proposal assumes the harmful and unacceptable cuts to Medicaid from the American Health Care Act.”

The House May 4 passed the American Health Care Act to replace the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act. The Senate effort to repeal and replace the health care law collapsed late July 17.

In the House budget resolution, “steady increases to military spending … are made possible by cutting critical resources for those in need over time, including potentially from important programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) that provide essential nutrition to millions of people,” Bishop Dewane said.

“This would undo a bipartisan approach on discretionary spending from recent years, that, while imperfect, was a more balanced compromise given competing priorities,” he added.

Catholic Charities USA also rejected the measure’s “dramatic cuts in key social safety net programs.”

Dominican Sister Donna Markham, president and CEO of the national Catholic Charities network, urged House members “to prioritize and protect programs that support and uplift the poor and vulnerable in our country.”

“While CCUSA supports the responsible use of our nation’s fiscal resources and has worked consistently to improve effectiveness in anti-poverty programs, reforms that seek only to cut our nation’s social safety net will further strain efforts to meet individual needs and risk pushing more Americans into poverty,” Sister Markham said July 20.

She made the comments in a letter to Rep. Diane Black, R-Tennessee, who is chair of the House Budget Committee, and Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Kentucky, ranking member.

Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity, who is president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, also wrote to Black and Yarmuth expressing her opposition to the budget resolution.

“As an organization guided by the social teachings of the Catholic Church, we firmly believe that the federal budget should be informed by moral principles and offer special protections for the poor and vulnerable,” she wrote July 18, the day the measure was unveiled.

“A budget must be fair and just and cannot be balanced on the backs of those among us who least can afford it,” Sister Keehan said. “We recognize that the proper role of federal spending programs should be to lift up the neediest among us enabling them to active participants in society.

“Unfortunately, the deep cuts in programs and services assumed by this budget proposal will severely reduce or eliminate access to basic necessities such as food, shelter, health care, education and other social supports that help lift families and individuals out of poverty and improve their health outcomes,” she said.

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

1 day 14 hours

Sister Swarna Latha Vennabusa is a member of the Sisters of Christ the Light, Christu Jyothi, from southern India.

“By birth I am not a Christian, but I became one when my whole family converted from Hinduism, thanks to the remarkable kindness of a Catholic priest,” said Sister Swarna. “My God gave me a second life by healing even at the point of death. This is the truth: my faith and prayers of my parents helped to make me what I am today — to be Christ’s witness through my life in the world. I and my religious congregation serve the poor and needy who live in poverty without education and reading skills.”

Her community also works with hearing and speech impaired children, orphans, and women in formation who come from low-income families. “I thank your archbishop and the Mission Office for permitting me to share my zeal and enthusiasm for my mission,” Sister Swarna said.

1 day 21 hours
Blue or purple Morning Glories like these in my front yard would be a perfect addition to the Mary Garden, but won’t grow well in the backyard bed. (CT/Photo by Gail Finke)Blue or purple Morning Glories like these in my front yard would be a perfect addition to the Mary Garden, but won’t grow well in the backyard bed. (CT/Photo by Gail Finke)

Catholic Telegraph Mary Garden Photo Contest

Who can enter?

Any readers of “The Catholic Telegraph,” from anywhere in the country.

What are we looking for?

Photos of your garden featuring a statue of Mary or other Catholic statues, plantings, or elements. Enter as many photos as you like, as often as you like throughout the gardening season. Photos should be of a garden you planted, not a garden you visit (at a church or cemetery, etc.)

Winners: Three winners will be announced in the June, July, August, and September issues (12 prizes total). Winners from one month are eligible to win in subsequent months.

First prize will be a $50 gift card; second and third prizes will be $25 gift cards.

All entries will be posted in a Facebook photo gallery with the photographer’s name.

By entering this contest, you grant The Catholic Telegraph permission to use your submitted photos online and in print.

To Show Us your Mary Garden, upload photos to

1 day 21 hours

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

By Rhina Guidos

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The chair of the migration committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged the Trump administration to “ensure permanent protection” for youth who were brought to the U.S. as minors without legal documentation.

Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chair of the Committee on Migration Committee, reiterated the bishops’ support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a 2012 policy under then-President Barack Obama that, while not providing legal status, gives recipients a temporary reprieve from deportation and employment authorization in the United States as long as they meet certain criteria.

During his campaign for president, Donald Trump said he would get rid of the program but later backtracked and it’s unclear what will happen to the estimated 750,000 youth who signed up for the program.

“DACA youth are contributors to our economy, veterans of our military, academic standouts in our universities, and leaders in our parishes,” said Bishop Vasquez in a July 18 statement. “These young people entered the U.S. as children and know America as their only home. The dignity of every human being, particularly that of our children and youth, must be protected.”

He urged the administration “to continue administering the DACA program and to publicly ensure that DACA youth are not priorities for deportation.”

The bishops join other Catholic institutions worried about the group and urging protection. In May, more than 65 college presidents representing U.S. Catholic institutions asked for a meeting with the Secretary of Homeland Security to talk about immigration policy, particularly DACA, saying they worried about the future of their students. They cited incidents in which DACA recipients have been placed under immigration detention, including a case in which one of them was deported.

“Many of these students will leave our campuses for internships, summer programs and jobs. Our prayer is that they return,” their letter said, but so far there have been no announcements of what the administration will or won’t do regarding the program.

In his statement, Bishop Vasquez said that since DACA is not a permanent solution, “I also call on Congress to work in an expeditious and bipartisan manner to find a legislative solution for DACA youth as soon as possible.”

The country’s Catholic bishops will continue efforts to find a humane and permanent resolution “that protects DACA youth,” Bishop Vasquez wrote.

“Additionally, I note the moral urgency for comprehensive immigration reform that is just and compassionate. The bishops will advocate for these reforms as we truly believe they will advance the common good,” he said.

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Follow Guidos on Twitter: @CNS_Rhina.

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

2 days 9 hours

IMAGE: CNS photo/Ashleigh Kassock, Catholic Herald

By Ashleigh Kassock

FRONT ROYAL, Va. (CNS) — As many parents know, all kids come into the world ready to draw, but as the years pass, each child reaches a point where they make a choice — to draw or not to draw.

It was never a question for comic artist and arrow enthusiast Ben Hatke, who doodled his way through many a grade school and high school class, filling the margins with grand adventures.

His dad was an architect at Purdue University in Indiana and his mom took him and his two sisters to the library regularly. When the young boy discovered newspaper comics such as Calvin and Hobbes, it was love at first sight.

Now, many pounds of pencil lead and paper later, the Christendom College grad and father of five has made a career out of “drawing in class.” For nearly two decades, he has illustrated comics, Seton Home Study School textbooks, children’s books and graphic novels.

The rights to his first graphic novel, “Zita the Spacegirl,” was picked up recently by Fox for a movie and there is hope that one day Hatke’s brave characters will make it to the big screen.

“Zita the Spacegirl” chronicles the adventures of young Zita as she braves the unknown in pursuit of her friend who vanished after pushing a mysterious red button. The story, and subsequent trilogy, became a hit with readers who have become big fans of Hatke’s work. What many of the fans don’t know, however, is that Zita was not Hatke’s idea.

“I feel like I’m always coming clean when I tell this story,” said Hatke, as he sat next to his desk, covered with pens, paper, tiny action figures and a Madonna and Child statue.

“I stole the idea from this cute girl I met at Christendom College,” he told the Arlington Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Arlington. “She had done these series of short little comics when she was in high school about this future girl named Zita so I was like, ‘I’m going to develop this character.'”

The admirer from Indiana gave Zita a new outfit and added a green cape. He then presented his crush with a whole Zita comic book.

“This plan of impressing this girl totally worked because she married me and here I am with my five daughters and Anna is still putting up with my crazy artistic ways,” he said.

According to Hatke, Anna chose the name Zita after St. Zita, who was the patroness of the region where Anna’s father grew up in a village in Italy.

“(St. Zita) is a beautiful saint because she is not dramatic. She was a serving girl to a wealthy family and she was just known for being kind to poor people and baking really great bread and giving it away,” Hatke said. “In a time period when many of the saints were priests or religious, she was a lay saint. She just lived a really good life.”

From the very beginning of Hatke’s career, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien have been favorite storytelling influences. But while his style is similar to “The Chronicles of Narnia” by Lewis, Hatke tends to favor the storytelling philosophy of Tolkien, who was against making a story too message driven.

“The most important thing is that you are telling a good story and if you are being honest in your good storytelling then what you think and feel and believe about the world will come out in that story and become apparent.”

One thing that’s become more apparent in Hatke’s work is the influence of his family.

“I had a reason to look back in my stack of books, and it was shocking just how much of my interior life and psychology life comes out, especially in the Jack books,” he said. In his latest graphic novel “Mighty Jack,” released in 2016, the main character’s house is identical to Hatke’s and the similarities do not stop there.

“I grew up with sisters. I now have daughters and Jack also is surrounded by these different feminine characters who are pulling him in different directions,” he explained. “I didn’t even notice I was doing it until I read it in a review and then I was like, ‘Oh man, this is me.'”

Anna and the girls play an important role as his first line of editorial support. The girls like to check on their dad at work and sometimes he will test a joke on them. If it goes over their heads he knows to try again.

One night when he was working on the third Zita book, Hakte felt he finally had a good story and told it to the girls during homemade pizza night.

“I was telling the story and I got three-quarters of the way through and I was like this is getting late, why don’t we eat our dinner and finish up and they were like ‘No! No! Finish the story now!’ And I knew this was working,” Hatke said with a smile. He relies a lot on Anna’s advice. They discuss developing projects when they are driving around town.

There are times, however, that motivation jumps ship and abandons even the best creative minds in the midst of looming deadlines. One of the ways Hatke has learned to get through these dry periods is through small side projects, also known as “goofing-off” or “drawing in class.”

His book “Little Robot” started out as a series of comic strips that he made during a time when he definitely had more important things to do. It turned into a book and won the 2016 Eisner Award for best publication for early readers.

“It has ended up being one of the books that is so important to me and it came because I was just ‘goofing-off,'” he said.

The rising popularity of his books and the possible movie has reminded Hatke about the responsibility writers have to their young audience. He equates it to the responsibility felt by a favorite arachnid-bitten superhero of his.

“I’m so thankful and so grateful that I’ve wandered into this position that I really can share stories with people in this way,” he said. “Having a voice and a young audience comes with a lot of responsibility, but also a lot of joy and a lot of excitement. The harder and more contentious times are the more serious the role of the artist is in the world.”

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Kassock is multimedia designer at the Arlington Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Arlington.

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Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

2 days 11 hours

IMAGE: Catholic News Service

By Josephine von Dohlen

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholic Facebook pages whose sponsors reported had been suddenly removed late July 17 were restored just over 24 hours later.

Twenty-one Brazilian-based Catholic Facebook pages, such as a Papa Francisco Brazil page, as well as four English sites, could not publish content July 18 due to Facebook silently taking down their sites. Millions of followers were affected, according to ChurchPOP, a Christian Culture brand website.

Catholic News Service contacted Facebook July 19 and received a response that it is looking into the situation of each of the pages whose sponsors reported had been shut down.

Among those with pages who were affected was the executive director of Relevant Radio, Father Francis J. Hoffman, affectionately known as “Father Rocky,” who has 3.95 million likes from Facebook fans around the world.

Relevant Radio reported that on July 17, all the page administrators of the Relevant Radio “Father Rocky” Facebook page found themselves unable to log onto Facebook. Once passing through a security measure, they found the Father Rocky page left “unpublished, with no other details or explanation.”

Father Rocky livestreams Mass daily from his Facebook page, as well as posts prayers, photos and even educational videos for his almost 4 million followers. Early July 19, Father Rocky posted a picture of a statue of Mary, stating, “Thanks be to God, I am back on Facebook!!”

“This serves as a wake-up call and we urge all Relevant Radio listeners and Facebook followers to download the free Relevant Radio App as a secure and reliable resource for the daily Mass and inspirational programs,” Father Rocky stated in a news release.

The Facebook page, Catholic and Proud, which has over 6 million followers, told CNS in a Facebook message that things appeared to be fine until the evening of July 17, when the page then became unpublished for the next day.

“The only notification I received was that we weren’t adhering to their policies, but that’s it, no reason, no example, absolutely nothing,” the Catholic and Proud page wrote to CNS. “That’s all we know. The inbox message reply here was also removed, so we couldn’t respond to anyone.”

In May 2016, Gizmodo, a design, technology, and politics website, published a piece accusing Facebook of censoring conservative trending topics, specifically the Conservative Political Action Conference and other conservative leaders. Their sources, former Facebook “news curators”, even admitted that stories that were covered by conservative outlets could not be trending unless mainstream sites covered similar topics.

In response, Facebook’s vice president of search, Tom Stocky, released a statement saying, “We take these reports extremely seriously, and have found no evidence that the anonymous allegations are true.”

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2 days 13 hours

IMAGE: CNS photo/Armin Weigel, EPA

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — More than 500 boys suffered abuse at the hands of dozens of teachers and priests at the school that trains the prestigious boys choir of the Regensburg Cathedral in Germany, said an independent investigator.

Former students of the Domspatzen choir reported that the physical, emotional and even sexual abuse at the school made life there like “a prison, hell and a concentration camp,” said Ulrich Weber, the lawyer leading the investigation of claims of abuse at the choir and two associated boarding schools.

A “culture of silence” among church leaders and members allowed such abuse to continue for decades, Weber said as he presented the final report on his findings during a press conference in Regensburg July 18.

The investigation, commissioned by the Diocese of Regensburg, found that at least 547 former members of the Regensburg Domspatzen boys choir in Germany were subjected to some form of abuse, according to Vatican Radio. Of those victims, 67 students were victims of sexual violence, the radio said.

The 440-page report, which spanned the years between 1945 and the early 1990s, found highly plausible accusations against 49 members of the church of inflicting the abuse, with nine of them accused of being sexual abusive. The Diocese of Regensburg and the Domspatzen choir supplied links to the report and related news stories or resources on their respective web sites: and

In the report, Weber sharply criticized Cardinal Gerhard Muller, who was bishop of Regensburg from 2002 until 2012, when Pope Benedict appointed him to head the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Then-Bishop Muller had “a clear responsibility” in the “strategic, organizational and communication weaknesses” that marked the process he launched of reviewing allegations. Cardinal Muller had ordered the creation of a commission to investigate and search through diocesan archives in the wake of the 2010 abuse crisis.

One of the first Domspatzen student-victims to come forward in 2010 with allegations of sexual abuse, Alexander Probst, told Deutsche Welle July 18 that he had been very frustrated and angry with the way then-Bishop Muller reacted to his claims. He said the bishop accused him of denouncing the church.

In the interview, whose link could be found on the Regensburg boys’ choir website, Probst said he felt the bishop actively protected abusers, and that “it got even worse when he was appointed head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; it was like putting a fox in charge of the henhouse.”

“It was only after the new bishop of Regensburg, Rudolf Voderholzer, realized that there was much more to all this than met the eye when things began to get better. Starting in 2015, he personally wanted to cooperate with us,” Probst said.

Widespread news of the suspected abuse first emerged in 2010 as religious orders and bishops’ conferences in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands were faced with a flood new allegations of the sexual abuse of children, mainly at Catholic schools.

The boys’ choir had been led between 1964 and 1994 by Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, the older brother of retired Pope Benedict XVI.

In an interview with the German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse in 2010, Msgr. Ratzinger apologized to victims at his former school, even though he said he had been unaware of the alleged incidents.

“There was never any talk of sexual abuse problems, and I had no idea that molestation was taking place,” the priest said, as he recalled his 30 years as the school’s choirmaster.

Msgr. Ratzinger had said when he served at the school, “there was a climate of discipline and rigor … but also of human understanding, almost like a family.” He knew that the priest who headed the school from 1953 until his death in 1992 had slapped boys in the face, but said he had not considered such punishments “particularly brutal.”

“If I’d known the exaggerated vehemence with which the director acted, I would have reacted,” he said in the 2010 interview.

In his report, Weber said Msgr. Ratzinger should have known about at least some cases of physical violence, but that his role “was still not at all clear.”

Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, told Vatican Radio the new report shows how Bishop Voderholzer “has taken seriously all the allegations” and is “very courageous in taking on an issue that has been looming for many years.”

It is only now that the facts have become “plain, in the light of day” because of establishing and cooperating with a professional, independent investigation, he said.

This latest report should inspire church leaders around the world, Father Zollner said, “so that they do the same today because this will help, first of all, those who have been harmed in the past.”

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Follow Glatz on Twitter: @CarolGlatz.


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2 days 15 hours

Father Charles Rajan is an Indian member of the Carmelite religious order, ordained in 2008. He has come to our archdiocese to make mission appeals on behalf of the Diocese of Kumbakonam, located in southeast India.

In their diocese, Catholics form 4.66% of the entire population, while Muslims form 4.24% and Hindus 91%.  Their social works are carried out irrespective of caste and creed, with the objective to help the people help themselves. Father Rajan explained that the diocese especially reaches out to Dalit mothers and widows of the lowest caste to promote self-help groups. They have 75 parishes and 525 mission or substations that are in serious need of catechists.

“I feel basically that God has called me to fulfill His mission,” Father Rajan said. “Therefore, I want to fulfill His mission as much as possible in the given time I have. I am grateful to Archbishop Schnurr and the Mission Office for the opportunity to invite the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to be partners in our efforts to build God’s reign together.”

2 days 16 hours

Father Muwonge is from the Diocese of Byumba, located in Rwanda, in south central Africa. Ordained in 1989, Father Muwonge has served both in Rwanda and the United States.

A long-brewing civil conflict led to a 100-day massacre 23 years ago in Rwanda. The horrific genocidal hostilities between the local leading tribes left nearly a million dead, 2 million refugees, and many thousands more with numerous types of deep scars. Members of the Diocese of Byumga have been in the continuous work of reconciliation, but Father Expedito noted, “We need to train even more leaders and facilitators to deal with the effects of the 1994 genocide.

I am grateful to be able to come to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to share with you that God has not abandoned his people in Rwanda. I have witnessed victims who have been severely slashed eventually offer forgiveness to their perpetrators. But further spiritual and financial support is still badly needed for training seminars to nurture peace and reconciliation in my diocese. With your help, God’s work will continue.”

2 days 21 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: The World Seen From Rome


On July 17, 2017, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, Monsignor Bernardito Auza intervened, at the institution’s headquarters in New York, on the theme: “Mobilize Religious Communities: Act with Solidarity and Shared Responsibility to Put an End to Poverty and to Promote Peace.”

The Vatican official pointed out that the greatest contribution that the faithful can make to implement the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development — whose objective is the reduction of poverty –, is to continue in their commitment to this objective, with the protection of the environment and the building of peace.

This should be done, in the meantime, without the fundamental human coordinates, because otherwise the serious risk is run of having the objectives of sustainable development considered only in a partial way. In particular, there would be the risk of favoring economic and sociological aspects and not their ethical and anthropological context, explained the nuncio.

Therefore, he said it is essential that religious leaders, communities and the faithful contribute to nourish courageously and perseveringly “the soul” and “conscience” in favor of a genuinely sustainable development. In a period such as the present, marked by relativism, it is also urgent to help people develop the true meaning of goodness and beauty.

In addition, the Filipino archbishop said that those actions must be corrected geared to prevent instrumentalizing religion for ends that are incompatible with its true essence, such as incitement to violence, which can lead to committing crimes and atrocities.

Religious leaders are not political leaders or experts. They are not called to measure objectives and scientific indicators, but to give their reasons for hope and to foster dialogue. Because, the real priority is to promote an integral human development of the whole person, he stressed.

Archbishop Auza also pointed out that religious leaders and the faithful must be committed to the protection of life in order to defend the weakest and the oppressed. In addition, they must help peoples develop their natural resources in a responsible way, to protect them from economic exploitations and political interests.

The Vatican’s Observer at the UN also quoted Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’. “The directives for the solution call for an integral focus to combat poverty, to restore the dignity of the excluded and, at the same time, to take care of nature.” And he reiterated that the most important indicators of sustainable development are not quantitative but qualitative and they refer to ethical values, to values that are opposed to the disposable culture.

16 hours 31 min

“Once again, I do not want to belittle the violence and its effect on innocent children’s souls. This is all terrible and I’m glad they finally listen to their complaints. But at the same time, I have to defend Georg Ratzinger, because all this had nothing to do with him.”

In an interview with ZENIT, prolific German author and historian, who also co-authored ‘My Brother the Pope,’ with Monsignor Georg Ratzinger said this, while explaining how any negative assertions about Pope Benedict’s brother, in connection with the Regensburg Report, are inaccurate and false.

An independent report found that at one of Germany’s most famous Roman Catholic choir schools, the ‘Vorschule’ and ‘Gymnasium’ of the “Domspatzen” choir in Regensburg, some 547 pupils were physically mistreated, and some 67 of sexually abused, between 1945 and 1992.

What is called ‘Vorschule’ (‘pre-school’) in German got it name because it was a preparation for a career as a choir boy. Children entered it with age six, and after completing its four grades, they left at age 10. ‘Gymnasium’ (‘high school’) is for those aged between 10- 19 years, consisting of nine grades. From there in Germany, one goes on directly to university.

The “Domspatzen” choir was run for 30 years, from 1964 until 1994, by Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI’s elder brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, who has reiterated he was not aware of these revelations, that emerged in 2010. In 2015, German attorney Ulrich Weber was tasked with producing a report on what happened and that finalized report was presented to press in Regensburg, Germany on Tuesday, July 18.

Reflecting on the 440-page report on the “incidents of violence against minors at the Regensburg Cathedral Boy Choir,” the papal biographer stated: “Due to sensationalism, readers have been left with the wrong and false impression that Georg Ratzinger, the brother of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, has something to do with it, since his name is mentioned in nearly all reports relating to the Regensburg Report.”

“In an almost perfidious way, like hydrochloric acid,” he continued, “this suspicion burns its way to his famous brother. In doing so, it regularly misses to point out the important fact that this report expressively relieves the Cathedral Music Director Georg Ratzinger.”

Turning to the report, Michael Hesemann says: “The study should actually consist of two parts, because it involves two completely different types of misdemeanors, which in the general language usage of the media are often summarized under the general term “abuse.”

“This is perfidious, because the reader is led to think of “sexual abuse” first. What is meant, however, is both: sexual abuse, a deplorable, horrific crime, and on the one hand, brutal educational methods, which, of course, cover a wide spectrum, from being beaten with reeds to a slap in the face.”

This second category, he noted, includes 91% of the cases.

The documented 67 cases of sexual abuse were committed by nine teachers in the period between 1945 and 2015, most of them at the pre-school of the Regensburger Cathedral Boy Choir in Etterzhausen and Pielenhofen, which never belonged to the sphere of influence of Georg Ratzinger.

Two perpetrators “were busy” in the early stages of his work at the Cathedral Boy Choir High School in Regensburg, he noted, explaining, one of which was fired after only two years. Only a single perpetrator, director of the high school, was in service when Georg Ratzinger begun, and stayed in office until 1971.

The report categorically concludes, Hesemann cited, that Ratzinger had never heard of the assaults that were so embarrassing to the victims that they did not even tell their parents about it, for the real problem in the prosecution of sexual abuse is always that most of the victims are silent.

If Unaware, How to Intervene?

“How could he have intervened or, if so, to be able to take a conscious look, if he definitely knew nothing?”

After 1972, when Ratzinger established himself in Regensburg – in the first years the cathedral director from the Upper Bavarian province was rather isolated by the Regensburg establishment and felt “artistically as well as humanly oppressed”, as he stated himself in “My Brother, the Pope” – there has not been a single case of sexual abuse at the Regensburger Cathedral boys choir high school – to this day. This is clear from the report.

“For this reason, he is free from any suspicion in this scandalous question. Therefore, there is no reason to link his good name with such repugnant crimes, as unfortunately happened by the press.”

Hesemann again reminded of the difference between pre-school and high school, underscoring that Georg Ratzinger first met the boys when they came from the so-called ‘pre-school’ to the cathedral boy choir ‘high school.’ The high school, as all interviewed eyewitnesses but one agree, was quite different and much more humane.

In this environment, cathedral choir master Georg Ratzinger worked. Born in 1924, Georg is from a time when spanking was common, Hesemann explained. “It was really difficult to estimate where the limits, which were permitted according to the time, were exceeded.”

The report counts only two instances when students informed him about the violence in Etterzhausen, the school adjacent to the choir, Michael noted: “The first time in 1970/71, when he was just started to establish himself, and did not want to hear about the events at a school where he did not work and for which he was not responsible, and then again around 1993.”

When Heard of Corporal Punishments, Called for Urgent Intervention

Already though in 1989, he wrote a letter to the director of the High School, which the report even reproduces. In this letter, he points out that “the preschool continues to practice the spanking.”

In the face of the danger of negative press reports, he recommended urgent intervention.

Hesemann reminded: “This was, of course, at a time when physical punishments were already forbidden by law. Before the 1980s, they were legal, as each of us – I was born in 1964 – still knows from his own time at school. In any case, you can not say he always looked away. That’s just not true.”

Most of his choir boys, the German author shared, describe Ratzinger with lots of positive terms, namely as “sincere, competent and understanding”, “friendly, yes full of love,” “very warm,” “very popular”, “strict, fair but nevertheless good-natured” and “appreciated by all children.”

Every afternoon “he shared cakes, biscuits and candies” with the choir boys. To quote one eyewitness: “The children have met him without fear, he has always been surrounded by groups of children.”

Passionate Perfectionist and Artist

However, the witnesses told, he was also an “absolute perfectionist” who “went on with the music, that was his life” and “was under pressure to keep the level of the choir.”

“Let’s not forget,” Hesemann recalled, “through his achievements the Regensburger Domspatzen were never displaced from the rank list of the world choirs.” His high emotionality and sometimes choleric nature, was seen, occasionally, not as one of his positive attributes. However, he calmed down just as quickly.

“It was rightly understood as an expression of his passion and perfectionism, indeed as spontaneous outbursts of an artist, which immediately after the rehearsal followed by a friendly, even loving attitude”, one of the witnesses is quoted.

“Without his perfectionism, without demanding unconditional discipline,” the German historian explained, “it would hardly have been possible for him to transform a provincial choir into an institution of world rank, the true cultural ambassadors of Europe and its musical tradition.” The choir was on tour twice in the USA (1983 and 1987) and also in Japan (1988 and 1991).

The historian concluded: “With biscuits and sweets alone one does not make big singers out of unruly boys, and before any success, no matter where, there is always discipline, passion and self-conquest.”

Always Strictly Adhered to Law

About his disciplining methods, Hesemann said “let’s limit ourselves to the official examination report and ignore the exaggerations of the tabloid press.” If we do, he explained, we see he has done nothing that not everyone of us, as long as he was born before 1968, experienced during his own school days.

“Even his loudest prosecutors – by the way, a minority: of 124 of the “victims” who had been consulted, only 55 knew of any ‘negative’ about him,” Hesemann noted, “described only the common disciplinary measures of the time, including slaps in the face, a tugging of hair, etc. While beating with reeds was used by the teaching staff of the ‘pre-school,’ Georg consistently renounced this.”

“When bodily punishments were banned in Bavarian schools in 1980, he adhered strictly to this.” Most of the choir boys express very positive memories of him, as the report notes. The investigators Weber and Baumeister also come to the conclusion that Ratzinger can only be criticized for “lack of reactions in the knowledge of physical violence.”

Nothing to Do With Him

“Once again, I do not want to belittle the violence and its effect on innocent children’s souls. This is all terrible and I’m glad they finally listen to their complaints. But at the same time I have to defend Georg Ratzinger, because all this had nothing to do with him. It has also nothing to do with the Catholic Church per se.”

“These were crimes committed at almost every boarding school, ecclesiastical or secular. These were educational methods, which were then the order of the day, noting we can be glad that we have long since overcome this time.”

“But it is most unjust to make a man a media scapegoat, just because he himself is prominent and has an even more prominent brother.”

“Since the report, which has just been published, speaks him free of any relevant elapse, now it would just be decent to finally leave a 93-year-old gentleman, who had earned great merits, in the peace and respect he deserves.”

16 hours 41 min

A year after the murder of French priest Jacques Hamel, the Archbishop of Rouen, Monsignor Dominique Lebrun, will preside over a Mass in the church of Saint Stephen in Sainte-Etienne-du-Rouvray, on the outskirts of the city of Rouen , some 80 kilometers northwest of Paris.

The Eucharistic Celebration will be held at 9:00 am, the hour in which Father Hamel was celebrating Mass when he was brutally murdered by two terrorists. Then, at 10:50 am the community of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray will unveil a commemorative monument for peace and fraternity. There will be Vespers at 6:00 pm in the Basilica of Notre Dame de Bon, followed by time to pray before Father Hamel’s tomb.

On September 14, a few weeks after Father Hamel’s murder, the Holy Father Francis celebrated Mass, in the Chapel of his Saint Martha’s residence, in memory of this priest. Twenty-four pilgrims of the diocese of Rouen and their Archbishop, Monsignor Dominique Lebrun attended the Mass. During the homily, the Holy Father exhorted to pray to Father Hamel: “He is a martyr; he is a Blessed,” he said.

The following day, September 15, Archbishop Lebrun gave Father Hamel’s Breviary to Saint Bartholomew’s Basilica in the Roman Tiberina Island. The Breviary was placed in the memorial of the 20th and 21st Century martyrs.

On April 22 of this year, Pope Francis took part in a Liturgy of the Word in this Shrine, entrusted to Sant’Egidio Community, in memory of the “new martyrs” of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Father Jacques Hamel’s process of Beatification began on April 13, 2017, thanks to the Pope’s waiving of the mandatory five-year waiting period for the opening of such a cause.

23 hours 42 min

The heads and representatives of 13 churches and Christian denominations of Jerusalem expressed their fear “for any variation of the status quo,” namely, all the rules for the management of the holy places of the Holy Land, which guarantee freedom of access and of worship to the faithful of the various religious communities, reported Fides on Thursday, July 20, 2017.

In the text, moreover, the signatories express their “serious concern” over the new spiral of tension and violence registered around the Esplanade of the Mosques in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Among others, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III; the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, and the Custos of the Holy Land, Father Francis Patton signed the statement.

“Every threat to the continuity of the status quo could lead to grave and unforeseeable consequences, which should be the least desired in the present atmosphere of religious tension,” warned the heads of the Jerusalem Churches.

The statement also manifested their appreciation of the “permanent custody of the al Aqsa Mosque and the Holy Places of Jerusalem and of the Holy Land by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which guarantees to all Muslims the right to freely access and freely practice their worship in the al Aqsa Mosque, according to the existing status quo.”

1 day 43 sec


Colombians are expecting from Pope Francis “a word of encouragement for evangelization, for reconciliation and not to ever go back,” said on Thursday, July 20, 2017 the President of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia (ECC), Monsignor Oscar Urbina Ortega, in an interview with Vatican Radio, in which he mentioned the Pontiff’s forthcoming international trip, scheduled from Sept. 6-11. After a half century of civil war and the Peace Agreement signed in 2016, this South American country is attempting a difficult reconstruction and reconciliation.

Colombia, said the ECC’s President on Vatican Radio, is “in a phase of ‘giving birth,’” namely, of undergoing a new birth. I believe it is this nascent creature that the Pope must find and encourage so that it can develop well in the light of the Gospel and of his witness.”

According to the Archbishop of Villavicencio, where Pope Francis will proclaim the new blesseds on September 8, the Church has “possibilities” to contribute to the country’s reconstruction, “because she has the Word of the Gospel, the word of papal teaching on all this aspect of reconciliation and peace and she has the instruments for reconciliation.” “A person reconciled with God can reconcile himself with the other and can reconcile himself with Creation,” said the prelate.

In a video-message published on the ECC’s site, on the occasion of the 207th anniversary of Colombia’s Independence, the Archbishop of Villavicencio exhorted his fellow countrymen “to take the first step towards reconciliation with God, with our brothers and with Creation.”

In the interview with Vatican Radio, the prelate reflected briefly on the issue of safeguarding the environment in his country. “The Pope will also visit the center of Colombia, a privileged scenario” to develop the whole discourse on the common home,” said the head of the ECC.

1 day 5 min

Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN and Other International Organizations in Geneva, gave the following discourse on July 18, 2017, during the IOM International Dialogue on Migration, on ‘Panel 1: ‘Understanding migrant vulnerability: concepts, drivers, protection frameworks and gaps’:

Below is the Vatican Radio-provided text of his statement:


Statement by H.E. Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, at the IOM International Dialogue on Migration

Panel 1: “Understanding migrant vulnerability: concepts, drivers, protection frameworks and gaps”

Geneva, 18 July 2017

Mr. Chair,

Migration has become one of the most powerful forces shaping our social, political, economic and cultural life, with implications nearly everywhere in the world.

In addressing the vulnerabilities of migrants, the Holy See wishes to reiterate the importance of developing and implementing a holistic and integrated approach firmly centered on the human person and his/her dignity. Such an approach remains, indeed, the best way to detect and overcome harmful stereotypes, to avoid stigmatizing anyone in response to certain personal or social characteristics. Indeed, when assessing the needs of migrants, it is important to take into account all aspects of the person and not simply one or other characteristic.

My delegation believes that vulnerability results from a wide range of discriminatory attitudes and practices, as is well expressed in the background paper. Vulnerability, as “the diminished capacity of an individual or group to resist, cope with, or recover from” situations of abuse of their rights, would mean that such a definition implies that the condition of vulnerability is necessarily provoked by some external circumstances, conditions or factors that are independent of personal attitudes or behavior of persons and groups. In this sense, the Holy See expresses its concern about references in the background paper to situations of vulnerability considered as such on the basis of sexual behavior rather than of discriminatory attitudes. This narrower focus may result in denying or ignoring the centrality of the whole person as such, while recreating “categories” which would engender protection gaps that are to be avoided, as claimed in the background paper.

This approach also should consider all components of the migratory journey, including the distinct causes that prompt our brothers and sisters to flee their lands and the consequent need to respond accordingly, and all stages of that journey, including countries of origin, transit, destination, and, when possible and feasible, of voluntary return.

In this regard, Pope Francis repeatedly stressed the moral imperative to protect migrant workers, particularly “men and women in irregular situations” as well as those “exiled and seeking asylum” or “victims of trafficking” 1 ; “…defending their inalienable rights, ensuring their fundamental freedoms and respecting their dignity are duties from which no one can be exempted.”2

While recalling that a comprehensive solution to the vulnerabilities of migrants would need to target simultaneously the structural roots of migration such as injustices, including poverty and inequalities, labor exploitation and unemployment, racism, persecutions, war and climate change, it. must be acknowledged that these very vulnerabilities are often a direct consequence of the lack of implementation of protection instruments and disrespect for the inherent dignity of the human person and his or her inalienable rights.

Mr. Chair,

As we address the vulnerable situations in which migrants find themselves, the Delegation of the Holy See wishes to bring our attention to a reality which is often overlooked in migration discussions, that is, the intimate relationship between a migrant and his or her family. Regrettably, too often migration brings about a double vulnerability: first, for the migrant, but at the same time for his or her family.

While migrants bring their positive contribution to their host societies, they too often are compelled to leave behind family members. As we all know, the decision to migrate, to abandon one’s native lands, is by far one of the most difficult choices in life. If on the one hand, remittances are important to improve the situation “at home”, they do not quite compensate for other human needs such as affection, nurturing, and caregiving. In this regard, the Holy See wishes to reiterate that in shaping the Global Compact on Migration, the family dimension needs to be taken into account, thus making migration a more positive experience for everyone: in fact, the family truly is the foundation upon which stable social cultural and economic situations can flourish 3 and is central in achieving SDG 16 to establishing peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development. 4

As we move forward in the concerted efforts to frame a sound Global Compact on Migration, the Holy See considers it of the utmost importance to muster the political will to bridge the “implementation gap” of the protection instruments already developed and to make them the foundation of truly humane and comprehensive policies. Rather than simply listing existing rights or commitments, we must pull the extra effort to strengthen their implementation through concrete cooperation mechanisms that bring these relevant rights and principles to life.

In this regard, a sort of voluntary “review mechanism” for the Global Compact on Migration implementation could serve as an instrument to see where the international community stands vis-a-vis its commitments towards migrants. These measures are not particular concessions to migrants, but are, in fact, in the interests of the international community at large.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

1 Pope Francis, Address to participants in the International Forum for Migration and Peace, Vatican City, 21 February 2017.

2 Ibid

3 Cf. “Charter of the Rights of the Family”, presented by the Holy See to all persons, institutions and authorities concerned with the mission of the family in today’s world October 22, 1983

4 SDG 16: “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”


1 day 14 hours

“Never say never!” – was Pope Francis’ advice to 9-year-old Andrea, who invited him to a pilgrimage.

The Pope’s message was reported on July 19, 2017 by the on line Italian daily Andrea had written him, telling him about his First Communion present: a pilgrimage. “Dear Andrea, it was lovely to receive your letter and to learn of the rich adventure you experienced with UNITALSI during the children’s pilgrimage to Loreto.”

To the little boy who invited him to make the pilgrimage with them, the Pope confided: “For me, to be with children is my greatest joy . . . never say never!”

He thanked Andrea for the group photograph he sent him. “I was able to see that you are numerous and very beautiful! . . . My heartfelt blessing to you, as well as to your parents, the volunteers, the priests and the persons in charge of UNITALSI.”

1 day 23 hours

To “break the vicious circle of bad news” it is necessary to change “the way of telling the news, said Monsignor Dario Edoardo Vigano, Prefect of the Holy See’s Secretariat for Communication, in quoted words reported by the Italian Catholic Agency SIR on July 19, 2017.

The Prefect intervened in the presentation of the “Volti Di Speranza” (Faces of Hope) collection of the “Friends of Santina Zucchinelli” Association, created in memory of Santina Zucchinelli (1925-2012), mother of an Italian family, who lived, handicapped, for many years.

“To break the vicious circle of bad news . . . it’s not necessary to tell good news but, rather, it is necessary to change the stories, the way of telling the situations of the world, which have always been made of lights and shadows, of grace and of sin, of violence and of tenderness,” he stressed.

Monsignor Vigano welcomed the exhibition whose works “tell the stories of persons who lived dramatic situations of cruelty “ but “through a framework that leads to the horizon of a possible pardon, of a possible understanding.” The collection presents books written by Father Luigi Ginami, attached to the Secretariat of the First Section of the Vatican State Secretariat and son of Santina Zucchinelli.

“The characteristic traits of the testimony are discretion and silence,” continued the Prefect, as well as “gestures of consolation and goodness.” Also necessary, however, is “a pure look that is able to find these signs of testimony.”

“For the faith to become concrete, we must have very much at heart the history, the memory, the future ,“ and accept “to be reborn a second time. Reborn from on high to see as God sees the events of the world.”

1 day 23 hours

“Let us pray for all the victims of mafias; let us ask for the strength to go forward, to continue to fight against corruption,” was Pope Francis’ tweet, published only in Italian on July 19, 2017, for the 25th anniversary of the murder of the anti-mafia Judge Paolo Borsellino.

On July 19, 1992, less than two months after the murder of Giovanni Falcone, the 52-year-old judge was the victim of an “attack on Via d’Amelio” along with the five policemen charged with his protection. The Pope has often raised his voice against the mafias, as he did during his visit to Cassano all’Jonio, in the province of Cosenza in Calabria in June 2014: while there he denounced the misdeeds of the “N’Drangheta,” Calabrian mafia, affirming that those who engage in organized crime do not adore God but adore evil,” “they are not in communion with God , they are excommunicated.”

The Pope regularly denounces the corruption in the Church as well as in society. Recently, signing the Preface of Cardinal Turkson’s book “Corruption: Overcome Corruption in the Church and in Society,” which came out last June, he referred to corruption as “the worst of social wounds,” “a form of blasphemy,” and a “cancer.”

At the end of the first “International Debate on Corruption,” organized in the Vatican by the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, on June 15, 2017, the participants resolved to reflect further on the question of excommunication for corruption.

2 days 2 hours

“We must look at reality in the face and we must address all the injustices, sins, crimes that were committed by priests and also other employees of the Church,” stressed Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, president of the Center for the Protection of Minors of the Pontifical Gregorian University, in an interview with Vatican Radio, in which he commented on the publication of the Report on abuses (sexual and non-sexual) in the school of the prestigious choir of “Regensburger Domspatzen” (Sparrows of the Regensburg Cathedral).

“It was the courage of the bishop to throw light on a truly very profound darkness,” stressed Father Zollner. “He gave the task to a lawyer to whom he offered all the possibilities, not only giving access to the files, but also in contacting the victims and speaking with other people involved,” continued the German Jesuit and psychologist, who spoke of “a very well done Report and unobjectionable in its vastness, in its profundity and also in its scientific merit.”

According to Father Zollner, who moreover is a native of Regensburg, the Report constitutes “a very important step, also for the sensitization of the whole society and for all institutions be of the Church, be it outside of the Church.”

The report on the abuses perpetrated on pupils of the school of one of the oldest and most famous choirs of children’s voices in the world was presented yesterday, Tuesday, July 18, 2017, by Ulrich Weber, the outside lawyer and investigator charged by the German diocese in 2015.

From the document, published under the motto ‘Hinsehen, Zuhoren, Antworten” (Look, Listen, Respond) it emerges that from 1945 to the first years of the ‘90s, at least 547 pupils (but the real figure could be even higher) in the choir school of the Cathedral of Regensburg, suffered physical, corporal and psychological violence, and 67 of them were also victims of sexual abuses.

The voluminous report does not even spare the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, who for three decades (from 1964 to 1993) directed the choir, or the former Bishop of Regensburg and former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, for not having grasped the malaise of the young choristers or for not having reacted appropriately.

2 days 3 hours

On July 14, the Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir ended its first tour of concerts in South Korea, where it performed in six cities: Seoul, Daejon, Gwangju, Busan and Daegu.

The Korean Episcopal Conference invited the Pontifical Choir in the framework of the commemoration of the third anniversary of Pope Francis’ visit to South Korea, from August 13-18, 2014.

They began the tour in the Cathedral of Myeongdong, in Seoul, where the Pope prayed for peace and reconciliation in the Korean Peninsula. The Cardinal Archbishop of Seoul, Monsignor Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, observed that it was significant that the Choir’s first performance was in that Cathedral.

“I want the public to feel the love and peace of God though the heavenly voices of the choir,” said the Korean cardinal.

The choir sang an ample repertoire, which included Gregorian chant, polyphony of the Renaissance and Baroque period, with composers such as Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Orlando di Lasso, Gregorio Allegri and Lorenzo Perosi.

The tour of the Choir, under the direction of Salesian Maestro, Monsignor Massimo Palombella, included the participation of just over 50 singers between adults and children’s voices in different auditoriums and churches in which the singing sparked the enthusiasm of the public present.

The tour of the Pontifical Choir had repercussions on television and national and local media, which gave it cover from its arrival in the Korean Peninsula.

The choir was founded in the 6th century under the Pontificate of Saint Gregory the Great with the name Schola Cantorum Romana. Its work was interrupted in moments of crisis within the Church, such as the change of the See to Avignon (1309-1377). It received its present name in 1471 with Pope Sixtus IV, who reorganized the school of papal singers.

2 days 17 hours

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, will preside over the solemn celebration of the closure of the Jubilee of the 800 Years of the Pardon of Assisi (1216), which will be held at the Chapel of the Portiuncula Assisi, Umbria, in Central Italy, on August 2, 2017, at 11:00 am, indicates the Franciscans’ official site.

Pope Francis visited Assisi for a private pilgrimage to the Portiuncula Chapel on August 4, 2016, two days after the opening of the Jubilee.

The celebrations will be preceded by a Triduum of preparation, preached by the Ministers General of the three Franciscan masculine Orders.

On Aug. 1, at 11:00 am, Father Michael A. Perry, Minister General of the Friars Minor, will preside over a Solemn Eucharistic Celebration, which will end with the procession of the “Opening of the Pardon”: from midday of August 1 to midnight of August 2. Pilgrims who go to Assisi will receive a Plenary Indulgence.

In the afternoon, Vespers will be presided over by Monsignor Domenico Sorrentino. The evening Prayer Vigil with a torchlight procession will be led by Monsignor Jose Rodriguez Carballo, Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life.

On August 2, there will be a Eucharistic Celebration almost every hour and Confessions the whole day. An evening concert will be followed by fireworks in the Portiuncula Square, closing the celebration.

The Pardon of Assisi is accorded to pilgrims who come to the Portiuncula to receive the Plenary Indulgence. Saint Francis obtained this privilege from Pope Honorius III in 1216. Every year, on August 2, the Indulgence is extended to Franciscan parish churches throughout the world.

2 days 17 hours


In a situation that is becoming ever more grave in Venezuela, last Sunday an armed squad retained Cardinal Jorge Urosa Sabino for some four hours, who was celebrating Mass on the feast of the Virgin of Carmel.

On Monday, Cardinal Pietro Parolin sent a letter to Cardinal Urosa expressing his closeness to him and to the faithful and condemning the siege and the violence.

“Dear Lord Cardinal, Jorge Urosa Sabino:

I wish to express my closeness to you, to the Fathers, to the Deacons and to all the faithful who were attacked in the Carmel church of Catia and roundly condemn the siege and violence.

I prayed a lot yesterday (Sunday 16th) that the Virgin of Carmel, so loved and venerated in Venezuela, may obtain from her Divine Son a peaceful and democratic solution for the country. And may the Authorities listen to the cry of the people who ask for freedom, reconciliation, peace and material and spiritual wellbeing for all, especially for the poorest and the neglected.

With a strong embrace in Domino

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, July 17, 2017

2 days 18 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: Latest News Releases from USCCB

WASHINGTON—In a letter to President Donald J. Trump, thirty-five Jewish, Christian and Muslim national religious leaders agree that Israeli-Palestinian peace is possible. They believe, "based on the legitimate, long-standing aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for national self-determination and security, a two-state solution still represents the most realistic way to meet essential interests of both peoples and to resolve the conflict."

The letter includes the signatures of Bishop Oscar Cantú, of Las Cruses, Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington.

The statement by Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders points to the fact that, "despite deep distrust on both sides, recent polls among Israelis and Palestinians show that the majority still yearn for two states." The leaders believe, "pursing either side's version of a one-state solution would likely lead to more years of violent conflict."

The leaders are encouraged that, building on years of official and informal negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, "the basic parameters of a framework for a two-state solution are widely known." And they say, "combined with a broader regional framework such as the Arab Peace Initiative, the incentives for all sides to make the historic decision for a two-state peace agreement are monumental."

They believe that "achieving a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians would have substantial positive effects for the people of Israel and Palestine, the region, the United States' own interests, and our world." The religious leaders are united in pledging their "support for US efforts to achieve this goal."

The full letter can be found at:


Keywords:  U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, President, President Donald J. Trump, religious leaders, Israelis, Palestinians, two-state solution, Bishop Oscar Cantú, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus, Washington, D.C., Arab Peace Initiative, conflict, peace.


Judy Keane

19 hours 38 min

WASHINGTON—In light of uncertainty about how the Senate will proceed on health care in the coming days, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called on the Senate to fix problems with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a more narrow way, rather than repeal it without an adequate replacement.

"Before any legislation had been proposed, the bishops were clear that a repeal of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act ought not be undertaken without the concurrent passage of a replacement plan that ensures access to adequate health care for the millions of people who now rely upon it for their wellbeing," wrote Dewane in the July 20 letter to the full Senate. "To end coverage for those who struggle every day without an adequate alternative in place would be devastating."

The Senate has been discussing various approaches for health care reform, including an ACA repeal approach that does not immediately decide upon a replacement plan. "The American Health Care Act legislation from the U.S. House of Representatives and the Better Care Reconciliation Act from the Senate were seriously flawed, and would have harmed those most in need in unacceptable ways. In the face of difficulties passing these proposals, the appropriate response is not to create greater uncertainty, especially for those who can bear it least, by repealing the ACA without a replacement.

Bishop Dewane urged Congress "to address the ACA's moral deficiencies and challenges with long-term sustainability" by "more narrow reforms, and in a bipartisan way." Included in this would be extending full Hyde Amendment protections to the ACA, enacting laws that protect the conscience rights of all stakeholders in health care, protecting religious freedom, and passing legislation that begins to address barriers to access and affordability for the poor. The full letter can be found at:


Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Affordable Care Act, ACA, Better Care Reconciliation Act, BCRA., U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, health care reform, Hyde Amendment, conscience rights, religious freedom, affordability.


Judy Keane

1 day 3 hours
WASHINGTON—The V Encuentro announced the winners of the Nuestra Alegría Viral Video Challenge via social media. Twenty-two groups of young Hispanic/Latino Catholics across the nation submitted entries for the viral video challenge representing 11 of the 14 episcopal regions in the United States and spanning 16 states.

Young people across the nation were invited to create their own movements and gestures to the official youth and young adult song, Nuestra Alegría, for the V Encuentro. This challenge was launched as a means to encourage the participation of young Hispanic Catholics.

The V Encuentro process is a priority activity of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Strategic Plan for 2017-2020. The national event will take place in Grapevine, Texas, September 20-23, 2018.

"Young people are at the heart of the V Encuentro process. It is wonderful to see their creativity and love for Christ and the Church in joyful motion," said Bishop Nelson Pérez, Bishop designate of Cleveland and chair of the USCCB Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs. "I look forward to follow along with the movements as we sing Nuestra Alegria in the diocesan and regional encuentros, and at the National Encuentro."

The V Encuentro is a four-year process of missionary activity, consultation, leadership development, and strengthening unity in the spirit of the New Evangelization. Its goal is to discern the ways in which the Church in the United States can better respond to the Hispanic/Latino presence and strengthen the ways in which Hispanics/Latinos respond to the call to the New Evangelization as missionary disciples serving the Church.

The first-place was awarded to St. Francis Borgia Deaf Center Youth Group in Chicago, whose members used sign language to express the lyrics of the song. As first-place winners they receive $1,000 and the honor of having the movements used in diocesan and regional Encuentros and at the national event.

Second place with a prize of $500 was awarded to Apóstoles De Ágape, St. John Neumann Catholic Church, Miami, Florida; and the third-place prize of $250 was given to River Valley Millenials, Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, V Encuentro National Coordinator affirmed, "We are very grateful to all the groups that submitted their videos. Their joy, enthusiasm and creativity are the young face of the church today. Congratulation to the winners."

Four other groups received honorable mention:

·         Most Joyful: Escuela de Evangelización San Andrés Jóvenes, St. Francis de Sales, Holland, Michigan. ·         Best Use of Technology: Jóvenes de Coronado- Sacred Heart Church, Coronado, California. ·         Best Concept and Creativity: Cristo Joven- Sacred Heart, Washington, D.C. ·         Best Teamwork: Juventus- Saint Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Voting for the Nuestra Alegría Viral Video Challenge took place from July 1-13, 2017 and a panel of judges from across the nation selected the winners after reviewing the videos on their 18 second submissions and evaluating that the movements and gestures reflected the meaning of the song. Catholics across the country also voted for their favorite groups via Facebook. Video submissions were very creative utilizing flags, drones, and banners. Some of the videos included children highlighting the importance of family to contestants.

All participants of the contest will receive a copy of the pocket book of the Gospels in September. Stories about the winners and other groups that participated in the challenge will be featured on the V Encuentro blog and social media accounts.  All video submissions are available at:


Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, ENAVE, V Encuentro, Hispanic Catholics, Latino, Bishop Nelson Pérez, Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs, video, Strategic Plan, New Evangelization, Millennials

# # #

USCCB MEDIA CONTACT: Norma Montenegro Flynn O: 202-541-3200
1 day 19 hours

WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development expressed concern over the proposed U.S. House of Representatives budget resolution, which was voted out of Committee late yesterday. 

“The USCCB is closely monitoring the budget and appropriations process in Congress and is analyzing the proposed House budget resolution in more detail. It is clearly noted at the outset that the proposal assumes the harmful and unacceptable cuts to Medicaid from the American Health Care Act. Additionally, steady increases to military spending in the resolution are made possible by cutting critical resources for those in need over time, including potentially from important programs like SNAP that provide essential nutrition to millions of people. The bipartisan approach to discretionary spending in recent years, while imperfect, reflected a more balanced compromise given competing priorities. 

 A nation’s budget is a moral document. Reducing deficits through cuts for human needs—while simultaneously attempting a tax cut, as this proposal does—will place millions of poor and vulnerable people in real jeopardy. Congress should choose a better path, one that honors those struggling in our country.” Previous letters from the USCCB on the federal budget can be found at: 


Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, U.S. House of Representatives, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, budget resolution, American Health Care Act, Medicaid, military spending, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), military spending, tax cuts, deficit, poor, vulnerable. 


Judy Keane

1 day 22 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: Reliable world news and analysis from a Catholic perspective.

A California judge has ordered pro-life activists to pay over $135,000 in fines, citing them for contempt of court for releasing undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the sale of fetal parts.

19 hours 58 min

“Today, Mosul is completely distroyed,” reports the city’s Syric-Catholic Bishop Petros Mouche. “Everything needs to be rebuilt.”

20 hours 3 min

Pope Francis has named two new officials for the Roman Rota.

23 hours 3 min

A Filipino bishop has encouraged President Rodrigo Duterte to “reconfigure” his was against drug trafficking, concentrating on eliminating the demand for illegal drugs rather than wiping out drug dealers.

23 hours 8 min

Pope Francis has donated €25,000 to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to support efforts against famine in eastern Africa.

23 hours 22 min

The Catholic bishops of Cameroon have filed a formal complaint of murder in the death of Bishop jean-Marie Benoit Bala, saying that they are unsatisfied with the government’s inquiry to date.

23 hours 32 min

Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso has issued a pastoral letter on migration.

1 day 5 hours

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in August.

1 day 5 hours

The chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development criticized the House Republicans’ budget proposal, which was approved in a July 19 committee vote.

1 day 5 hours

The Catholic population of Bosnia and Herzegovina has fallen to 400,000—down from over 740,000 before the Bosnian War (1992-95).

1 day 6 hours

The St. Sergius Mission, a Russian Orthodox church complex in Jerusalem, was rededicated on July 18 in the presence of Russian and Israeli officials.

1 day 6 hours

In a recent homily at his cathedral in Kiev, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church paid tribute to Pope Francis for his concern for strife-torn Ukraine.

1 day 6 hours

Venezuela’s bishops have declared July 21 to be a day of prayer and fasting.

1 day 7 hours

The Catholic bishops of South Africa have announced their opposition to a proposal for the registration of religious ministers with the government.

1 day 19 hours

More than 2,000 Muslims have sought refuge in the Catholic cathedral in Bangassou, in the Central African Republic, to escape sectarian violence.

1 day 19 hours

The US House of Representatives has approved a measure that would grant permanent-resident status to Charlie Gard, enabling the 11-month-old child to travel to an American hospital for medical treatment.

1 day 19 hours

Facebook has restored full access to more than 20 Catholic pages that had been blocked on July 18, saying that the blockage was due to an error.

1 day 20 hours

All of the major Christian leaders in Jerusalem have issued a joint statement of “serious concern” about the rise in tensions at the Temple Mount, where two police officers were killed by gunmen last week.

1 day 20 hours

Speaking in Hungary, a Nigerian bishop said that government corruption has helped foster the Boko Haram jihadist insurgency.

2 days 3 hours

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, condemned an attack by supporters of President Nicolas Maduro on a crowd outside a church near Caracas.

2 days 4 hours

The Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies recently called upon participants in a UN meeting to make greater efforts to address hunger and ecological concerns.

2 days 5 hours

The Vatican newspaper has published a front-page article recalling that July 2017 marks the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Dombes Group, an ecumenical initiative in Lyon, France.

2 days 5 hours

Russia’s Supreme Court has upheld an earlier court decision banning the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

2 days 5 hours

The publication of a report on widespread abuse at the famous choir school associated with the Diocese of Regensberg, Germany, manifests a “courageous” attitude on the part of the local bishop, according to a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

2 days 6 hours

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia explained the new strategic vision of the Pontifical Academy for Life in an interview with Austen Ivereigh for Crux.

2 days 23 hours

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the longtime personal secretary to Benedict XVI, denounced suggestions that the retired Pontiff had intended to criticize Pope Francis with a statement issued for the death of Cardinal Joachim Meisner.

2 days 23 hours

Facebook blocked access to more than 20 Catholic pages on July 18, without any explanation.

2 days 23 hours

NewsFeeds from Zenit, EWTN,

From: Live Catholic Headlines
Albuquerque, N.M., Jul 21, 2017 / 08:40 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- The Women of Grace apostolate will mark 30 years at its national conference this year, an event which aims to help women celebrate their "gift of authentic femininity."
21 hours 12 min
Washington D.C., Jul 21, 2017 / 05:52 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- The US bishops' representative for domestic justice has asked Senators not to vote to repeal the current health care law unless they have an alternative in place that offers acceptable levels of coverage. 1 day 41 sec
Denver, Colo., Jul 21, 2017 / 05:05 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- The 50th anniversary of a historic statement that changed Catholic higher education in America represents both a cautionary tale and a chance to reflect on Catholic renewal, said Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska. 1 day 47 min
Washington D.C., Jul 21, 2017 / 04:01 am (EWTN News/CNA).- While there is talk of criminal justice reform in the U.S., something must also be done about a decades-long spike in female inmates, experts and members of Congress of both parties said. 1 day 1 hour
Caracas, Venezuela, Jul 21, 2017 / 02:17 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Venezuela's bishops have organized a day of prayer and fasting amid ongoing, violent riots throughout the country as opposition to President Nicolas Maduro hardens. 1 day 3 hours
Sacramento, Calif., Jul 21, 2017 / 02:02 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Pro-abortion groups are lobbying for a California law that Catholic leaders warn would open employers like Catholic schools to lawsuits for asking teachers to follow their codes of conduct. 1 day 3 hours
Washington D.C., Jul 20, 2017 / 08:01 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Undocumented young people brought to the U.S. by their parents contribute to American society and deserve continued protections from the Trump administration, said the U.S. Catholic bishops this week. 1 day 21 hours
Vatican City, Jul 20, 2017 / 07:15 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Fr. Pierangelo Pietracatella and Fr. Hans-Peter Fischer are the newest members of the Roman Rota, and mark the latest in a string of appointments Pope Francis has made this summer as part of his ongoing effort to restructure the Roman Curia. 1 day 22 hours
Washington D.C., Jul 20, 2017 / 05:00 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Father Arne Panula, the former U.S. vicar of Opus Dei, passed away at his Washington, D.C. home on July 19, 2017 after a battle with cancer. 2 days 52 min
Denver, Colo., Jul 20, 2017 / 04:02 am (EWTN News/CNA).- From a young age, Catholics are taught to pray about and discern their vocations – whether they're called to marriage, to the religious life, to the priesthood, or consecrated single life.   2 days 1 hour
Rome, Italy, Jul 20, 2017 / 04:02 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- A member of Pope Francis' commission to protect minors says a new report on the abuse of more than 500 choir boys in Germany points to a current reality in many non-western countries – and that bringing these things to light means progress for everyone. 2 days 1 hour
San Francisco, Calif., Jul 20, 2017 / 03:07 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- A federal judge has ordered over $136,000 in fines after the release of several undercover videos in a series that appeared to implicate Planned Parenthood officials and the National Abortion Federation in the illegal sale of unborn baby body parts. 2 days 2 hours
Buchach, Ukraine, Jul 20, 2017 / 01:04 am (EWTN News/CNA).- At the close of his recent trip to Ukraine, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri met with youth from the troubled country, telling them not to be discouraged by the challenges they face but rather to trust in the Lord and commit to changing society for the better. 2 days 4 hours
Washington D.C., Jul 20, 2017 / 01:01 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Grandparents and other family members are temporarily exempt from the travel and refugee bans implemented by President Donald Trump, the US Supreme Court said Wednesday. 2 days 4 hours
Philadelphia, Pa., Jul 19, 2017 / 11:16 am (EWTN News/CNA).- A prominent Catholic journal's critique of American religion and politics got quite a bit wrong, Philadelphia's Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said yesterday. 2 days 18 hours
New York City, N.Y., Jul 19, 2017 / 07:01 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Religious leaders, not secularists, are often in the best position to persuade violent religious extremists towards peace, the papal nuncio to the United Nations has said in response to an effort to prevent atrocities. 2 days 22 hours