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From: The site of the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
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By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A former consultant to a pontifical commission who denied to a Vatican court that she leaked documents about the Vatican’s financial reform to an Italian journalist had admitted to sending the documents when she was first interrogated, a Vatican policeman said.

Stefano DeSantis, an officer investigating the leaking of the documents, testified May 24 that Francesca Chaouqui told Vatican police officials that she sent documents regarding the Vatican Asset Management (VAM) to Gianluigi Nuzzi, author of “Merchants in the Temple.”

“We never assumed that she gave the documents, she admitted to it,” DeSantis told the court.

Chaouqui is on trial, along with Msgr. Vallejo Balda, secretary of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, and Nicola Maio, the monsignor’s former assistant, for “committing several illegal acts of divulging news and documents concerning fundamental interests of the Holy See and (Vatican City) State.” 

Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, author of “Avarice,” are accused of “soliciting and exercising pressure, especially on (Msgr.) Vallejo Balda,” to obtain the documents.

The trial session May 24 began with the cross-examination of Gianluca Gauzzi, deputy commissioner of the Vatican police, by the defendants’ lawyers regarding his testimony May 16.

Gauzzi revealed the contents found on two iPhones and a Macbook Pro belonging to Msgr. Vallejo Balda. In some of the messages found on the monsignor’s devices, Gauzzi said, “Chaouqui asked Msgr. Vallejo to use WhatsApp because she believed it was a secure and tap-proof messaging system.”

When asked by Laura Sgro, Chaouqui’s lawyer, about the examination of the chats between Chaouqui and Msgr. Vallejo Balda, Gauzzi stated that the police saw the message exchange on the Spanish monsignor’s phone.

Chaouqui, he added, deleted the messaging application from her phone before handing it over to the Vatican’s IT experts as part of the investigation.

However, because WhatsApp is connected to a person’s phone number, the police are certain the messages were between Msgr. Vallejo Balda and Chaouqui even though she deleted the app from her phone, Gauzzi said.

Regarding Chaouqui’s initial confession of sending Nuzzi the documents, DeSantis told the court that she exhibited “exemplary behavior” when she gave the Vatican police her formal statement and even made clarifications or specifications in her formal declaration.

MORE TO COME

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.

3 hours 57 min

IMAGE: NS photo/Simon Caldwell

By Simon Caldwell

LIVERPOOL, England (CNS) — Myanmar’s first cardinal has thanked the Christians of the West for helping to bring democracy to his country.

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon said the Catholic Church was “at the forefront” of supporting the people of Myanmar, formerly Burma, during a dictatorship that lasted half a century.

Preaching at a May 22 Mass in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool, he declared: “Today, we are free.”

“The world community refused to accept the oppression … and spoke against that,” Cardinal Bo said.

“The church as a community refused to allow the oppression of Christians and others in Burma,” he said. “Every church, including the U.K. church, was at the forefront of supporting us.”

The cardinal told the congregation that Catholics “are united by a special bond of community. It is this sense of community which has helped many Christians around the world to survive hardship and emerge stronger.

“My heart is filled with gratitude to all the Christians, civil society leaders and governments, that the sense of community helped them to think of Burma,” he added. “Your concern has led us to see the light of democracy, and I urge you to continue to accompany us, especially through your prayers.”

Cardinal Bo’s visit to Liverpool was the final stop of a British tour at the invitation of the charities Aid to the Church in Need and Christian Solidarity Worldwide. His visit came six months after the National League for Democracy won a landslide election that ended about 50 years of dictatorship in the Southeast Asian country.

Cardinal Bo told the congregation in Liverpool that the dictatorship was a long “Calvary” for the people of his predominantly Buddhist country.

“We were a crucified nation,” he said. “Propagation of Christianity was banned, new churches could not be built, and personnel had to be sent out of the country for any training. In many places, being Christian was the greatest liability.

“The language and cultural rights of our people were taken away by the one-language, one-race and one-religion policy,” he said.

“Yet God did not abandon our nation. The church was like the mustard seed and, like the biblical example, it grew into a tree,” he said.

In the midst of the oppression, he said, the Catholic Church in Myanmar became a “young and vibrant church.”

“The church grew from just three diocese to 16 dioceses,” Cardinal Bo said. “From 100,000 people, we are over 800,000 faithful, from 160 priests to 800 priests, from 300 religious we are now 2,200 religious and 60 per cent of them are below the age of 40.”

Now, he said, Myanmar sends missionaries to other countries.

Cardinal Bo reserved special praise for Aung San Suu Kyi, the democracy campaigner and Nobel Peace Prize winner, whose “moral courage,” he said, had defeated “one of the most arrogant armies in the world.

He said the periods she spent under house arrest — 15 of 21 years — were episodes of “redemptive suffering” that “melted decades of oppression.”

“A new democracy has been born in this nation,” said Cardinal Bo. “Myanmar is proud today that its Easter moment came in the most peaceful manner.

“Here was a woman whose belief in peace and nonviolence stands in stark contrast to the violent conflicts in many parts of the world,” he said. “It is a great inspiration that peace is possible and moral power still can overcome tremendous suffering.”

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.

9 hours 22 min
A post from The Catholic Telegraph's Instagram account is show on an iPhone.A post from The Catholic Telegraph’s Instagram account is show on an iPhone.

The Catholic Telegraph, official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, has joined the popular social networking app Instagram as part of ongoing efforts to engage a younger, more diverse audience of Catholics. Users may connect with the newspaper’s newest account by searching the username the_catholic_telegraph within the app.

Instagram was founded in 2010 as a mobile app for photo sharing but is now a fully functional social network where users can share photos and videos privately and publicly, while following other accounts of interest.  Instagram claims more than 400 million monthly active users (MAU), which is far less than worldwide leader Facebook (1.55 billion MAU), but above Twitter (320 MAU).

“Our first editor, in 1831, said The Catholic Telegraph’s primary purpose was, ‘to aid in diffusing correct knowledge of of the Catholic faith,'” said John Stegeman, new media editor for The Catholic Telegraph. “To do that, they took the news where the people were — all over a vast diocesan territory. Our continued growth via social media is a continuation of that mission to bring the news to the faithful where they are. Today, many of them are online.”

The Instagram app is available for free on most mobile devices. Instagram has only limited functionality via desktop computer use, but The Catholic Telegraph’s account can be found at www.instagram.com/the_catholic_telegraph.

Among major networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr, Instagram appears to have the largest appeal for users between 25 and 34 years old, but also a strong component with those aged 18-24.

The Catholic Telegraph has been active in social media since early 2009, in conjunction with the initial launch of TheCatholicTelegraph.com. The CT joined Facebook in February of 2009, Twitter in March of 2009 and Youtube in April of 2013.

The CT isn’t the only Archdiocese of Cincinnati office to use Instagram. The Archdiocesan Chancery Archives, led by Sarah Patterson, joined the app in June of 2015. Patterson posts unique finds from local church history, such as a photo of a slipper worn by a pope, or interesting bits from past issues of The Catholic Telegraph on what she calls #TelegraphTuesday.

“We decided to start an Instagram account because it is a fun platform to be able to share the various bits of history we find in the archives that might not otherwise find the light of day,” she said. “A lot of the things we find that go online may not warrant a full story or article, but it is fun nonetheless.”

The archives’ account can be found by searching “catholiccincyarchives” within the app or visiting www.instagram.com/catholiccincyarchives.

10 hours 23 min

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Holiness doesn’t depend on superhuman powers, but rather demands a heart filled with courage, hope and grace that strives for conversion each and every day, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass.

In fact, holiness is reached by taking tiny steps, like biting your tongue every time there is the urge to gossip or demean somebody, he said May 24 during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

“Bite your tongue a little. Your tongue will swell up a bit, but your spirit will be holier,” the pope said.

“Holiness is a journey. Holiness cannot be bought, it is not sold” and it is not given away as a reward, he said. It is “walking in God’s presence in an irreproachable way.”

Every person is responsible for striking out on a path of holiness, he said. “I have to do it, someone else can’t do it in my name. I can pray for someone else to be a saint, but he has to take that path, not me.”

The holiness Christians must strive for is an “everyday” task often carried out in anonymity, he said.

This journey first demands courage, “the courage to move forward,” he said.

That courage is inspired by hope — the hope “in an encounter with Jesus.”

However, people cannot live holy lives on their own. “It is a grace of God and we must ask for it” and be open to receiving it, he said.

Christians must not conform themselves to the world, but must “change one’s own heart from within — in an ongoing, daily intense activity within.”

Conversion isn’t telling the priest, “Oh father, for me to convert I must do penance — give me a clobbering,” he said.

The process of conversion requires small concrete steps, he said. For example, “If you are able to not speak badly about someone else, you are on the right path for becoming a saint. It’s that easy.”

Tackle the little things and “don’t turn back, always move forward” with hope and strength, he said.

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.

11 hours 2 min

EEAs Maria Gavaria’s career in human resources centers on global diversity and inclusion, her work for the church focuses on World Youth Day and Mission Youth — global opportunities for youth worldwide.

She has become a leader in workplace spirituality where employees are not expected to leave their religion at the doorstep to their jobs.

“Mission Youth has different programs and there are two programs I am actively involved in,” said Gavaria, senior manager in human resources for global diversity and inclusion at Procter & Gamble. She helps ensure everyone at P&G is valued and included so that they can perform at their peak. It’s the basis of ensuring everyone is respected and valued and it is a global effort.

One of Mission Youth programs is World Youth Day. “Back in 2010, we were talking about World Youth Day. It was going to be in Madrid and there was not a lot of coordinated effort here in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. We said let’s make this happen and I started coordinating World Youth Day under Mission Youth. I started working with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to help promote World Youth Day and we had 106 pilgrims who went with us to Madrid,” said Gavaria, mother of two — Natasha, 22, and Philip, 18.

Because of that effort, Gavaria continued as director of World Youth Day for Mission Youth – an international private institution. “Also with Mission Youth, I coordinated and directed (the trip) to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day. We brought 63 people to Rio. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati promoted that.”

“ Archbishop (Dennis M.) Schnurr actually was the person in charge of World Youth Day in Denver in 1993. He was really excited because he had not heard of any efforts here (until then). He was happy to see a coordinated effort to put a package together for World Youth Day for Madrid and another for Rio and now, if you go to the archdiocese website, you will see we are promoting the one for Poland this year in Kraków.”

Gavaria is also involved in another youth-centered ministry — the Holy Week Mercy Mission.

“It too is part of Mission Youth and an international effort in six cities across the United States and in other countries around the world,.” Gavaria said. “Basically the idea is to become a missionary during Holy Week — Holy Thursday, Good Friday and then Saturday. We have three different tracks of missionaries — one for high school boys, one for high school girls and then we have families.

“We basically do a ‘Cross Walk’ on Good Friday that starts at the cathedral. We have huge crosses and we go from St. Peter in Chains to Immaculata/Holy Cross in Mount Adams. We gather petitions as we walk . If we encounter people on the street, it is a simple smile, a  greeting, a question: ‘How can we pray for you?’ We encounter the homeless, we meet construction people to executives. It is a beautiful act of mercy. All families are involved in that. The other two groups actually participate in the Good Friday ‘Cross Walk’ with us ,but this year is they also are going to visit Su Casa and hear testimony from immigrants and they are also putting together 600 meals and going out to the streets of Cincinnati and distributing those. We work with the offices of the cathedral, Holy Cross/Immaculata and Old St. Mary’s in Over-the-Rhine. At Old St. Mary’s (Holy Thursday evening) we light little candles and the high school kids walk the Over-the-Rhine area. They can light a candle and we can pray for their intercessions. We just walk the streets.”

When not involved in youth ministry, Gavaria takes her faith to work with her.

“It just came to mind that I needed to start something at P&G and for three years I just hesitated. I was in adoration with Pope Francis in Rio and the Holy Spirit put in my mind that I have to start an employee network at P&G. I did.

“It is a Catholic network, and it is an official employee interest group. I work in HR (human resources).  In my world we have women at work, we have people with disabilities, there is the Hispanic and African-American group, there are veterans.

“I put the group together with the formality it needed. It was (company) approved and it provides a forum for P&G Catholics in all regions to connect based on the common interest of being Catholic while being in service to P&G. Two years ago, I put out a table and I had more than 100 people sign up. Now we are up to 200. The first year was a pilot program making sure it was truly a network and I just tried to understand what our employees would like and how this network could be of service to them so they could be happy.

“We have monthly brownbag lunches where we have fellowship, a  speaker, take action. I had a pilot program to make sure we would have a framework so we could expand it to be able to guide others. I would become the overall leader meeting the needs of what P&G is all about. We are opening it up this year to other sites. Even here in Cincinnati there are two other sites that want it. We also have one in Colombia, South America and another In Costa Rica. It continues expanding and has been very successful here at the downtown headquarters.

“With P&G, there are several employee resources. We have numerous grassroots employee interest groups and we have a large variety of diverse interests. Now, we also have a Jewish network and a Christian network that came out of the Catholic network,” Gavaria said.

These groups receive no funding from P&G but provide an opportunity to express faith and cultural beliefs and traditions.

At the core of the P&G Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, the company fosters a culture of inclusion so that everyone is valued, included and performing at their peak. To support a diverse and global workforce, P&G offers an internal forum for employees to connect and build a strong sense of community as well as the opportunity to be in service to the company to deliver better business results.

This Everyday Evangelist feature first appeared in the May 2016 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.

14 hours 12 min

IMAGE: CNS photo/Christina Lee Knauss, The Catholic Miscellany

By Christina Lee Knauss

ST. MATTHEWS, S.C. (CNS) — For years, Matthew Quay picked up paper clips from desks and absent-mindedly straightened them while listening to discussions or presentations at work.

He also carried some in his pockets to straighten during Mass at Holy Trinity Church in Orangeburg.

It was simply something to do with his hands to help him stay focused, he said.

He never figured that simple action would eventually turn into works of art that help persecuted Christians overseas.

Last fall, Quay started to experiment with twisting the straightened clips into various shapes. He made a cross. With a few more twists, he formed the corpus of Christ.

Within days, he was making beautiful crucifixes out of paper clips, sacred art formed from the simplest of office supplies.

Since then, Quay’s creations have been displayed at the Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center. Sales of the artwork have raised thousands of dollars to help persecuted and displaced Christians in the Middle East.

Around the same time he made his first paper-clip crucifix, Quay was feeling helpless and sad about the plight of families fleeing Syria and other war-torn parts of the Mideast.

“In September of 2015, I saw all those images of the refugees, especially that little boy who washed up on the shore in Turkey,” he told The Catholic Miscellany, newspaper of the Diocese of Charleston. “It really bothered me because I felt we were so comfortable over here and it seemed like there was nothing we could do. I never thought my feelings about the refugees and my art would come together.”

In December, his mother, Deni Quay, asked him to sell his work at Holy Trinity’s annual Christmas bazaar. Quay, who belongs to Knights of Columbus Council 6891, had recently learned of the Knights’ nationwide efforts to raise money for Christian refugees in the Middle East.

Finally, he said, he saw a way for his art to help the people who haunted his thoughts.

By December, his crucifixes had evolved from simple crosses in one or two colors to larger, more elaborate ones made with clips of varying sizes in many hues. In two days, he made more than $1,400 for the refugee effort.

That success prompted Quay to devote even more time to his creations, to expand the complexity and variety of detail, size and color.

He purchased paper clips from office supply stores and online sources. People started giving him extras they had around the house. He especially treasures a donation of hundreds of vintage ones that came from the home of a former schoolteacher. Older clips, he said, come in darker, more burnished hues of silver and gold which add a special look to the crucifixes.

He found some about 4 inches long in a sale bin at a store. Those large clips ended up being ideal for his big crucifixes, which can be up to 17 inches long and use more than 200 clips. These large pieces take about 18 hours of work to complete, while smaller ones take about four hours.

Quay said his inspiration for the colors comes from the seasonal vestments worn by Father Wilbroad Mwape, administrator at Holy Trinity, where he’s a member.

He also has made crucifixes on request: a gold and white one in the shape of an anchor for a woman who lost a brother in a boating accident, dark blue for a police officer, another with a medal of St. Peregrine for a woman whose family member has cancer. For Christmas, he incorporated clips in Southwestern hues of turquoise and red for his father-in-law, who lives in Texas and loves Native American culture.

When he’s working, Quay said he spends a lot of time in “meditative thought” but doesn’t have a specific prayer routine. Sometimes he prays “lots of Hail Marys,” he said, or for various prayer intentions.

He is most aware that the crucifixes are God’s work through him, especially when he considers what their sales have accomplished in only a few months.

A series of simpler figures of Christ affixed to wooden crosses raised more than $950 when his council sold them after Masses. That, combined with money raised from the bazaar and the exhibit, means more than $5,500 will be donated to help refugees.

All because of paper clips.

“The reaction has been overwhelming,” Quay said. “This whole process has really been a series of little discoveries. It’s taking a very insignificant thing and making it into something beautiful.”

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Knauss is on the staff of The Catholic Miscellany, newspaper of the Diocese of Charleston.

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 8 hours

IMAGE: CNS photo/Rafael Marchante, Reuters

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Sixteen years after the Vatican released the text of the so-called Third Secret of Fatima, rumors cyclically arise claiming that the Vatican still is keeping part of Mary’s message to three children in Fatima, Portugal, secret.

The Vatican press office May 21 took the unusual step of publishing a communique with reaction from retired Pope Benedict XVI, who — as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — oversaw the secret’s publication in 2000 and personally wrote a commentary on it. He insisted at the time that the complete text had been published.

In mid-May, a blog published a story claiming a German priest, Father Ingo Dollinger, said that then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had told him soon after the publication in 2000 that part of the message was still secret.

The Vatican communique said: “In this regard, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI declares ‘never to have spoken with Professor Dollinger about Fatima,’ clearly affirming that the remarks attributed to Professor Dollinger on the matter ‘are pure inventions, absolutely untrue,’ and he confirms decisively that ‘the publication of the Third Secret of Fatima is complete.'”

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 9 hours

IMAGE: CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — After five years of tension and top-level silence, Pope Francis and the grand imam of one of the most important Sunni Muslim universities in the world embraced at the Vatican May 23.

“The meeting is the message,” the pope told Ahmad el-Tayeb, the grand imam of al-Azhar University, as the religious scholar approached him just inside the door of the papal library.

El-Tayeb’s spring visit was the first meeting between a pontiff and a grand imam since the Muslim university in Cairo suspended talks in 2011.

Established in 1998, the formal dialogue between al-Azhar and the Vatican started to fray in 2006, after now-retired Pope Benedict XVI gave a speech in Regensburg, Germany. Al-Azhar officials and millions of Muslims around the world said the speech linked Islam to violence.

Al-Azhar halted the talks altogether in 2011 after the former pope had said Christians in the Middle East were facing persecution. Al-Azhar claimed that Pope Benedict had offended Islam and Muslims once more by focusing only on the suffering of Christians when many Muslims were suffering as well.

In February, Bishop Miguel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, delivered a letter to el-Tayeb from Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, council president, inviting him to the Vatican to meet the pope.

Cardinal Tauran and Bishop Ayuso welcomed the imam to the Vatican May 23 and accompanied him to the papal meeting.

Pope Francis sat to the side of his desk facing the grand imam rather than behind his desk as he customarily does when meeting with a visiting head of state.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the pope spoke privately with el-Tayeb for 25 minutes and the conversation included a discussion about “the great significance of this new encounter within the scope of dialogue between the Catholic Church and Islam.”

“They then dwelled upon the common commitment of the authorities and the faithful of the great religions for world peace, the rejection of violence and terrorism (and) the situation of Christians in the context of conflicts and tensions in the Middle East as well as their protection,” Father Lombardi said in a statement.

At the end of the audience, Pope Francis presented the grand imam with two gifts: a copy of his encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home” and peace medallion depicting an olive tree holding together two pieces of a fractured rock.

In an interview after the papal meeting, el-Tayeb said the “circumstances” that led his institution to halt the dialogue with the Vatican “no longer exist,” so the Vatican and the university can “continue our holy mission, which is the mission of religions: ‘to make people joyful everywhere,'” by teaching them about God.

Meeting Pope Francis, “the first impression, which was very strong, is that this man is a man of peace, a man who follows the teaching of Christianity, which is a religion of love and peace,” and “a man who respects other religions and shows consideration for their followers,” the imam told Vatican Radio and L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.

Religious leaders today, he said, have a “heavy and grave” responsibility to teach people the true path to happiness and peace.

“Man without religion constitutes a danger to his fellow man, and I believe that people right now, in the 21st century, have started to look around and to seek out wise guides to lead them in the right direction,” el-Tayeb said.

Al-Azhar, as a reference point for many Sunni Muslims around the world, is engaged in an ongoing program to clarify the meaning of classical Islamic texts and make clear to Muslims, including schoolchildren, that groups claiming to base their violent actions on Islam are promoting “a deviant understanding” of the faith.

The Middle East, he said, has seen “rivers of blood and cadavers,” in part because of the misuse of religion.

“Islam and Christianity have nothing to do with those who kill, and we asked the West not to confuse this deviant and misled group with Muslims,” the imam said. “The issue must not be presented as persecution of Christians in the East, but on the contrary there are more Muslim than Christian victims, and we all suffer this catastrophe together.”

“We must not blame religions because of the deviations of some of their followers,” he said, “because in every religion there exists a deviant faction that raises the flag of religion to kill in its name.”

After meeting the pope, the grand imam was scheduled to travel to Paris to open the second international conference on “East and West: Dialogue of Civilizations” May 24 sponsored by al-Azhar University and the Catholic Sant’Egidio Community.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 10 hours

IMAGE: GIAMPIERO SPOSITO

By Cindy Wooden

ROME (CNS) — When Emmanuele Trincas described Roman Cocco as a “bomber” on the soccer field, they both laughed, but it also gave Cocco the confidence he needed to talk about his experience as a Special Olympics athlete.

“I know it’s not modest,” Cocco said, but being chosen to play in an international soccer tournament May 20-22 in Rome “represents how hard I worked.”

“I never thought I’d get this far,” Cocco said. “We’ll see what the future holds.”

Trincas and Cocco trained together for two months for the “Project Unify” tournament in Rome, which was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and Special Olympics Italia. Four teams from Italy took on teams from France, Hungary, Lithuania and Poland.

Project Unify brings together athletes with developmental disabilities and those without. The two learn to appreciate each other’s talents, realize what they have in common, overcome preconceived ideas and form friendships.

Logan Ludwig, deputy supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, came to Rome for the tournament, which was played on the Knights’ Pius XI Field. He took part in the opening ceremony, which included the parade of athletes and the lighting of an Olympic flame.

The Knights, he said, have been involved in the Special Olympics since the games began in the late 1960s. “Special Olympics and the Knights of Columbus have a common purpose: We believe in the sacredness of human life at every stage,” Ludwig said.

On the Rome field, which has a perfect view of the cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica, the athletes — each in their own language — also took the Special Olympics oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Ludwig said, “The athletes don’t ask for special treatment, they just ask for a chance.”

Trincas and Cocco realized their dreams of playing in Rome, having fun and making new friends even though their team, representing Italy’s Sardinia region, did not end up on top. Those honors went in one division to Albano Primavera — a team from just outside Rome — and to the visiting team from Lithuania in the other division.

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Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. 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 cns@catholicnews.com.

1 day 11 hours
La Salle High School has announced that it will conduct mandatory drug testing for all students beginning with the 2014-15 school year. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)La Salle High School. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)

On Monday, May 23, the Catholic Schools Office, the La Salle Board of Limited Jurisdiction, and Thomas Luebbe himself signed a new joint statement announcing that the non-renewal of the 17-year principal has been withdrawn, and that instead his resignation has been accepted.

Last month it was announced that long-time principal Luebbe’s contract was not going to be renewed. While the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Catholic Schools Office and La Salle High School Board of Limited Jurisdiction have issued repeated statements, more answers were sought.

“As one unified voice of faith and commitment to Lancers past and present, Tom Luebbe, the La Salle High School Board of Limited Jurisdiction, and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati provide this communication to our families, staff, and community,” the May 23 statement begins.

After reviewing the background, the joint statement reads, “…the Archdiocese has withdrawn the nonrenewal and instead accepted Mr. Luebbe’s resignation.  While Mr. Luebbe’s departure may sadden many, institutions regularly must deal with change.”

News first broke concerning Luebbe’s imminent departure after an announcement from Archdiocese of Cincinnati Interim Superintendent Susie Gibbons was posted on La Salle’s website April 8, acknowledging Lubbe’s non-renewal. The initial statement spoke positively about Luebbe, but gave no reasons for his departure.

On April 11, Stacy Papke was named interim principal at La Salle.

On April 13, a joint statement was released by the schools’ office and La Salle’s Board of Limited Jurisdiction clarifying that the decision to non renew came first from the board, and not the archdiocese, but that the superintendent and Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr concurred with the recommendation.

“The Archdiocese regrets any concern and grief it may have caused in how this matter has been handled,” the May 23rd statement reads. “We know that Mr. Luebbe will now have the opportunity to offer his loyalty, wisdom, and experience to another school.  Mr. Luebbe will always be part of the La Salle community.  And he, the Board of Limited Jurisdiction, and the Archdiocese ask that your commitment and passion continue in support of La Salle High School. “

1 day 14 hours

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From: CWN provides reliable world news and commentary from a Catholic perspective, availble exclusively at CatholicCulture.org.
Posted
Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI could make a rare public appearance on June 29, when he celebrates the 65th anniverary of his ordination to the priesthood. Archbishop Georg Gänswein, ... 7 hours 34 min
An Irish politician has met privately with his bishop after being removed from his position as a lector because of his support for legal abortion and same-sex marriage. Ken Curtin, a ... 7 hours 46 min
Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the head of Egypt's Al Azhar University, affirmed his commitment to peace and the elimination of terrorism in an interview with Vatican broadcast media on May ... 8 hours 9 min
Bishop Eduardo Patiño Leal of Cordoba, Mexico, decried a culture of violence that is "getting worse and worse" after a man was kidnapped from a church in Veracruz during ... 8 hours 22 min
An Italian archbishop has vowed to close down Catholic schools rather than pay property taxes on them. Archbishop Luigi Negri of Ferrara-Comacchio sent a plea to Prime Minister Matteo ... 12 hours 38 min
During a meeting with Pope Francis, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus suggested that the Pontiff should meet with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill to discuss the ongoing ... 12 hours 44 min
Cardinal Pietro Parolin stressed the primary importance of preventing warfare in a pair of addresses to the World Humanitarian Summit. "Prevention of armed conflicts is ... 12 hours 49 min
“The Gospel of family, joy for the world” is the theme of the 9th World Meeting of Families, which is scheduled to take place in Dublin in August 2018. “Hopefully it ... 18 hours 29 min
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is sponsoring a tour of the relics of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More as part of its annual Fortnight for Freedom initiative to promote ... 20 hours 54 min
Oil company and port workers went on strike to protest changes in French labor law, leading to gasoline shortages throughout France. Bishop Jean-Luc Brunin of Le Havre, the ... 21 hours 11 min
Officials in Northern Cyprus, the area of Cyprus invaded by Turkey in 1974, have limited Eastern Orthodox services to once a year. The Cyprus Mail reported that churches will be allowed ... 21 hours 35 min
The justice and peace commission of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference has called for a “yes” vote in a June 5 referendum on changes to the nation’s asylum law. If ... 21 hours 53 min
Alexander Van der Bellen, the leader of Austria’s Green Party, has defeated Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party by a 50.3%-49.7% margin in the nation’s presidential ... 22 hours 14 min
A missile struck a Franciscan middle school in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, on May 22, killing one and injuring two. “The explosion was extremely violent, and it was ... 22 hours 38 min
The British embassy to the Holy See and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace sponsored a meeting for members of religious orders on sexual violence in areas of conflict. As ... 22 hours 51 min
Pope Francis has sent a message of support for the First World Humanitarian Summit, which is taking place in Istanbul this week under UN auspices. In a letter to UN Secretary-General ... 1 day 7 hours
The longtime personal secretary to Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI has spoken of a "dramatic struggle" at the conclave of 2005, and insisted that the former Pontiff did not resign ... 1 day 8 hours
Father Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest who has been jailed for years because of his opposition to the Vietnamese Communist regime, was released by the government just prior to the arrival ... 1 day 8 hours
Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, England, has criticized government officials for making "ludicrous" claims in their attempts to defeat a campaign to pull out of the European ... 1 day 8 hours
All of the 499 Syrians who have been granted refugee status in the US thus far this month are Muslims, the CNSNews service reports; not a single Christian has been granted that ... 1 day 9 hours
Christians are called to seek the conversion of all Muslims, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity told an audience at Cambridge University. The ... 1 day 9 hours
The twelve Syrian migrants brought to Rome by Pope Francis after his dramatic April visit to the island of Lesbos have now received official refugee status. The migrants-- three ... 1 day 13 hours
Pope Francis met on May 23 with Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Egypt's Al Azhar University, and the two spiritual leaders underlined their mutual rejection of religious ... 1 day 13 hours
Newly elected President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has lashed at at the Catholic Church, escalating his conflict with the country's hierarchy. The outspoken Duterte, who had ... 1 day 13 hours
Joined by Episcopalian, Lutheran, and Baptist bodies, two dioceses in New York State—the Diocese of Albany and the Diocese of Ogdensburg—have filed suit against the New York ... 1 day 18 hours
Following the recitation of the Angelus on May 22, Pope Francis asked the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray for the World Humanitarian Summit, which begins on May 23 in ... 1 day 18 hours
Father Francesco Maria Greco (1857-1931), an Italian diocesan priest who founded the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts, was beatified in Cosenza on May 21. Cardinal Angelo Amato, the ... 1 day 18 hours
In his Trinity Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel reading (Jn. 16:12-15) and on the relation between baptism and the Trinitarian life. “The ... 1 day 19 hours
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has denied a report that he once told Father Ingo Dollinger, a German priest who lives in Brazil, that the third secret of Fatima has not been published in its ... 1 day 19 hours
Pope Francis received President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus in audience on May 21. Following their meeting, the Belarusian leader met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the ... 1 day 20 hours
Representatives of the Holy See and the Democratic Republic of the Congo signed a framework agreement at the Apostolic Palace on May 20. Since 1977, the Holy See has had diplomatic ... 1 day 20 hours

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(Vatican Radio)  "Walk in the presence of God without reproach." That’s how Pope Francis says we can journey towards holiness.  During the Homily at Mass at Santa Marta Tuesday, the Pope said that for this commitment to succeed, Christians must be able to hope with courage, open themselves up to discussion, and freely welcome God's grace. Listen to our report: Holiness cannot be bought. Neither can it be earned by human strength. No, "the simple holiness of all Christians," "ours – the kind  we are called to every day," says the Pope, can only be attained with the help of four essential elements: courage, hope, grace, and conversion. The path of courage Taking the liturgical excerpt from the First Letter of St. Peter, which he called a "small treatise on holiness," Pope Francis said holiness means “to walk in the presence of God without reproach:" "Holiness is a journey; holiness cannot be bought.  It can’t be sold. It cannot be given away. Holiness is a journey to God's presence that I must make: no one else can do it in my name. I can pray for someone to be holy, but he’s the one who has to work towards [holiness], not me. Walk in God's presence, in an impeccable way.” Everyday holiness, the Pope continued, can also be “anonymous.” And the first element needed to achieve it is courage:  “The path to holiness takes courage." Hope and grace "Jesus’ Kingdom of Heaven," the Pope stressed, is for "those who have the courage to go forward" and courage, he observed, is generated by "hope," the second element of the journey that leads to holiness. The kind of courage that hopes "in an encounter with Jesus." The third element of this journey towards holiness, the Pope observed, appears in Peter’s words: "Put all your hope in that grace:” "We cannot achieve holiness on our own,” affirmed Pope Francis.  “No, it is a grace. Being good, being saintly, going every day a little 'a step forward in the Christian life is a grace of God and we have to ask for it. Courage, a journey. A journey one must take with courage, with hope and with the willingness to receive this grace. And hope: the hope of the journey. Here, the Pope urged the faithful to read the “beautiful” chapter XI of the Letter to the Hebrews, which recounts the journey of “our forefathers, the first to be called by God.” “Of our father Abraham, it said: 'But, he went out without knowing where he was going.' But with hope." Convert every day In Peter’s letter, the Pope continued, we also see the importance of a fourth element: conversion as a continuous effort towards cleansing the heart. "Conversion, every day,” recalled Pope Francis, does not mean one must beat oneself as penance for committing a wrong:   “No, no, no: small conversions... if you're able to not speak ill of another, you're on the right path to becoming saintly. It 'so easy! I know that you never speak ill of others, no? Little things ... 'I want to criticize a neighbor, a workmate': bite your tongue a bit. The tongue will swell a bit, but your spirit will be holier on this journey. Nothing grand, mortification: no, it's simple. The path to holiness is simple. Do not go back, but always moving forward, right? And with fortitude."  (from Vatican Radio)... 16 hours 56 min
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message to the World Humanitarian Summit taking place 23-24 May in Istanbul. The Summit was convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. In his message, addressed to Secretary General Ban, Pope Francis said, “I hope that your efforts may contribute in a real way to alleviating the sufferings of these millions of people” who need “protection, care and assistance, and who seek a dignified future.” He also noted some of the difficulties in finding solutions to humanitarian crises, such as competing interests and “military, economic and geo-political strategies” that displace persons and “impose the god of money, the god of power.” And he warned about humanitarian efforts “conditioned by commercial and ideological constraints. “For this reason,” he said, “what is needed today is a renewed commitment to protect each person in their daily life and to protect their dignity and human rights, their security and their comprehensive needs.” At the same time, he continued, “it is necessary to preserve freedom and the social and cultural identity of peoples.” Aid for those in need must begin on a personal level, he said, but must also involve working together. Pope Francis also said he hoped the Summit would be the occasion for recognizing the important work of many who “serve their neighbor and contribute to consoling” those who suffer. He emphasized that love is not directed to ideas, but to persons. Finally, Pope Francis offered a challenge to those taking part in the Summit: “let us hear the cry of the victims and those suffering.  Let us allow them to teach us a lesson in humanity.  Let us change our ways of life, politics, economic choices, behaviours and attitudes of cultural superiority. Learning from victims and those who suffer, we will be able to build a more humane world.” Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis’ Message to the World Humanitarian Summit: To His Excellency Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General of the United Nations I wish to greet all those taking part in this first World Humanitarian Summit, the President of Turkey together with the organizers of this meeting, and you, Mr. Secretary-General, who have called for this occasion to be a turning point for the lives of millions of people who need protection, care and assistance, and who seek a dignified future. I hope that your efforts may contribute in a real way to alleviating the sufferings of these millions of people, so that the fruits of the Summit may be demonstrated through a sincere solidarity and a true and profound respect for the rights and dignity of those suffering due to conflicts, violence, persecution and natural disasters.  In this context, the victims are those who are most vulnerable, those who live in conditions of misery and exploitation. We cannot deny that many interests today prevent solutions to conflicts, and that military, economic and geopolitical strategies displace persons and peoples and impose the god of money, the god of power.  At the same time, humanitarian efforts are frequently conditioned by commercial and ideological constraints.  For this reason, what is needed today is a renewed commitment to protect each person in their daily life and to protect their dignity and human rights, their security and their comprehensive needs.  At the same time, it is necessary to preserve freedom and the social and cultural identity of peoples; without this leading to instances of isolation, it should also favour cooperation, dialogue, and especially peace.  “Leaving no one behind” and “doing one’s very best” demands that we do not give up and that we take responsibility for our decisions and actions regarding the victims themselves.  First of all, we must do this in a personal way, and then together, coordinating our strengths and initiatives, with mutual respect for our various skills and areas of expertise, not discriminating but rather welcoming.  In other words: there must be no family without a home, no refugee without a welcome, no person without dignity, no wounded person without care, no child without a childhood, no young man or woman without a future, no elderly person without a dignified old age.  May this also be the occasion to recognize the work of those who serve their neighbour and contribute to consoling the sufferings of the victims of war and calamity, of the displaced and refugees, and who care for society, particularly through courageous choices in favour of peace, respect, healing and forgiveness.  This is the way in which human lives are saved. No one loves a concept, no one loves an idea; we love persons.  Self-sacrifice, true self-giving, flows from love towards men and women, the children and elderly, peoples and communities… faces, those faces and names which fill our hearts.  Today I offer a challenge to this Summit: let us hear the cry of the victims and those suffering.  Let us allow them to teach us a lesson in humanity.  Let us change our ways of life, politics, economic choices, behaviours and attitudes of cultural superiority. Learning from victims and those who suffer, we will be able to build a more humane world.            I assure you my prayers, and I invoke upon all present the divine blessings of wisdom, strength and peace.                                                                                     Franciscus PP. From the Vatican, 21 May 2016   (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 13 hours
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis received in audience in the Vatican on Monday the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheik Ahmed Muhammad Al-Tayyib.   In a note, the Director of the Vatican Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi sj. said the approximately 30 minute meeting was “very cordial” and that the Grand Imam of Egypt “was accompanied by an important delegation, which included: Dr. Abbas Shouman, Undersecretary of Al-Azhar; Dr. Mahmaoud Hamdi Zakzouk, member of the Council of Senior Scholars of Al-Azhar University and Director of the Center for Dialogue of Al-Azhar; Judge Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam, Advisor to the Great Imam; Dr. Mohie Afifi Afifi Ahmed, secretary-general of the Islamic Research Academy; Ambassador Mahmoud Abdel Gawad, Diplomatic Advisor to the Grand Imam; Mr. Tamer Tawfik, Advisor; and Mr Ahmad Alshourbagy, Second Secretary. The delegation was accompanied by the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the Holy See, Mr. Hatem Seif Elnasr. Upon his arrival in the Vatican, the Grand Imam was welcomed, and then accompanied to his audience with the Pope, by the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Card. Jean-Louis Tauran, and by the Secretary of the same dicastery, Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot.  Fr. Lombardi further states that the Pope and Grand Imam noted “the great significance of this new meeting in the framework of dialogue between the Catholic Church and Islam.” The two then mainly “discussed the common commitment of the authorities and the faithful of the great religions for peace in the world, the rejection of violence and terrorism, the situation of Christians in the context of conflicts and tensions in the Middle East and their protection.” During the meeting, Pope Francis gave the Grand Imam the Medallion of the olive tree of peace and a copy of his Encyclical Letter Laudato si'. Following his audience with the Holy Father, the Grand Imam and his delegation met briefly with Cardinal Tauran and Bishop Guixot Ayuso in another audience hall in the Apostolic Palace.   (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 13 hours
(Vatican Radio)  No Christian can exist without joy: that’s what Pope Francis said in his Homily at Mass Monday morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta guesthouse.  The Pope stressed that even through life’s difficulties, the Christian knows he can trust in Jesus and find hope.  The Pope also reminded the faithful they should not allow riches to dominate their lives because they ultimately lead to sadness.  Listen to our report: Christians live in joy and amazement because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Commenting on the First Letter of St. Peter the Apostle, Francis pointed out that, even if we are plagued by trials, we can never lose the joy of knowing that God “regenerated us in Christ and gave us hope". The identity card of the Christian is the joy of the Gospel He noted that we can go towards that “hope” which "the early Christians depicted as an anchor in heaven."  We too, can “ take the rope and go up there," to "that hope" that brings joy: "A Christian is a man, or a woman, of joy: a man and a woman with joy in their heart. There is no Christian without joy!”  You may be told that there are many such Christians, the Pope warned, but  “they are not Christians! They say they are, but they are not! They are missing something.” “The Christian identity card is joy, the Gospel’s joy, the joy of having been chosen by Jesus, saved by Jesus, regenerated by Jesus; the joy of that hope that Jesus is waiting for us, the joy that - even with the crosses and sufferings we bear in this life - is expressed in another way, which is peace in the certainty that Jesus accompanies us, is with us. " "The Christian,” he added,   “grows in joy through trusting in God. God always remembers his covenant." And in turn, "the Christian knows that God remembers him, that God loves him , that God accompanies him, that God is waiting for him. And this is joy." Slavery to riches is an evil which leads to sadness Turning to the day’s Gospel story regarding Jesus’s encounter with the wealthy man, the Pope observed the young man “was not able to open his heart to joy [and] chose sadness," "for he had many possessions." "He was shackled  to his belongings! Jesus told us that one cannot serve two masters: either one must serve God or serve riches. Riches are not bad in themselves, but slavery to wealth – this, is wickedness. The poor young man went away sad ... 'He frowned and he went away sorrowful'. When in our parishes, in our communities, in our institutions we find people who say they are Christians and want to be Christian but are sad, something is wrong there. And we must help them to find Jesus, to take away that sadness, so that they may rejoice in the gospel, can have this joy which is truly of the Gospel. " "Joy and amazement:" that’s what the Christian feels when faced with God’s revelation and love, and “the emotions stirred by the Holy Spirit,” Pope Francis added.   And here, the Pope recalled Jesus’s disappointment  when he told the Apostles that the young man could not follow him, because he was too attached to his riches.  And when the Apostles asked the Lord, ‘who then, can be saved?’  The Lord answered, "Impossible for men," "but not for God." Christian joy, then, and the ability to “be saved from worldly attachments” can “only come through the power of God, with the strength of the Holy Spirit." Concluding, Pope Francis prayed that the Lord “graces us with amazement in his presence, in the presence of the many spiritual treasures he has given us; and with this amazement, may he give us joy, the joy of our lives - and of having our hearts at peace even when faced with many difficulties.  And may he protect us from seeking happiness in so many things that ultimately sadden us:  they promise much, but they will not give us anything! Remember well: a Christian is a man, and  a woman, of joy, joy in the Lord; a man and a woman of wonder ." (from Vatican Radio)... 1 day 15 hours
(Vatican Radio) “The feast of the Holy Trinity invites us to engage in the daily events to be the leaven of communion, of consolation and of mercy.” Those were Pope Francis' words during his Angelus address on a sunny Trinity Sunday from his studio above St Peter’s Square. Drawing inspiration from the  Gospel of St. John, the Pope said that Jesus knew how to be close to the realization of the Father's plan, which will be fulfilled by his death and resurrection; “for this, Pope Francis continued, he wants to ensure his followers that he will not abandon them because his mission will be prolonged by the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Father explained that the Holy Spirit “guides us into new life situations with an eye to Jesus and, at the same time, open to events and to the future.” “He takes care of the wounded flesh of humanity from injustice, oppression, hatred and greed.” Then the Pope described how the Trinity is a family of three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit which is not closed in on itself, but it is open, The Trinitarian horizon of communion, said Pope Francis, “embraces us all, and encourages us to live in love and fraternal sharing, assured that where there is love, there is God.” The Holy Father went on to say that, our being created in the image and likeness of God calls us to understand ourselves as beings living interpersonal relations in solidarity and love for one another. Following the recitation of the Marian Prayer, the Pope recalled that May 23 rd sees the start of the First World Humanitarian Summit, due to take place in Istanbul, Turkey. The Holy Father prayed that the participants would fully commit themselves to the main humanitarian goal, that is, “to save the life of every human being, without exception, especially the innocent and the defenseless.” Pope Francis also noted that on Tuesday, May 24, the Catholic faithful in China, would be celebrating their particular devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary "Help of Christians", venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai. Let us ask Mary, he said, “ to give his children in China the ability to discern at all times the signs of the loving presence of God, who always welcomes and forgives.”   (from Vatican Radio)... 2 days 15 hours

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From: Live Catholic Headlines
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Washington D.C., May 24, 2016 / 06:30 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- After sending the Little Sisters' HHS mandate case back to the circuit courts on May 16, the Supreme Court voided two more mandate cases with Catholic plaintiffs on Monday. 17 hours 42 min
Istanbul, Turkey, May 24, 2016 / 05:44 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Addressing a global summit on humanitarian aid, Pope Francis offered encouragement and a reminder – don't ever forget that each suffering person you encounter has a name. 18 hours 28 min
Vatican City, May 24, 2016 / 04:02 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Hundreds of athletes took to the fields in Rome over the weekend for the launch of this year's "Special Olympics European Football Week," an unique event which saw people both with – and without – intellectual disabilities competing side by side. 20 hours 10 min
Vatican City, May 24, 2016 / 01:34 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- After his historic meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican Monday, Egypt's Grand Imam of al Azhar issued a global appeal to counter terrorism, which he said is "deviant" of true Islam and threatens the both east and west alike. 22 hours 38 min
Vatican City, May 23, 2016 / 12:40 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- Former Pope Benedict XVI could appear in public once again on June 29, the 65th anniversary of his priestly ordination. 1 day 11 hours
Vatican City, May 23, 2016 / 11:09 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Pope Francis on Monday embraced the grand imam Sheik Ahmed Muhammad Al-Tayyib during a meeting at the Vatican, a move which is being seen as a step toward reopening dialogue between Christians and Sunni Muslims. 1 day 13 hours
Washington D.C., May 23, 2016 / 05:18 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- As the U.S. lifted its decades-long arms embargo with Vietnam during President Barack Obama's visit there, human rights advocates argued that the country had not sufficiently improved its human rights record to warrant the deal.   1 day 18 hours
Juba, South Sudan, May 23, 2016 / 03:58 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- A Slovak nun and medical doctor died Friday from gunshot wounds she suffered in an attack in Yei, South Sudan last week. 1 day 20 hours
Washington D.C., May 23, 2016 / 01:08 am (EWTN News/CNA).- Evangelical and socially conservative leaders are planning a meeting with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to discuss their concerns and decide on future action. 1 day 23 hours
Vatican City, May 22, 2016 / 09:21 am (EWTN News/CNA).- The feast of the Holy Trinity is an invitation for us to commit to enriching our everyday relationships by promoting communion, consolation, and mercy, Pope Francis said during his weekly Sunday Angelus address. 2 days 14 hours
Washington D.C., May 22, 2016 / 05:02 pm (EWTN News/CNA).- With high divorce rates among Catholic couples – and with marriage rates plummeting among millennials – Church leaders are scrambling to address the problem.   2 days 19 hours

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From: Latest News Releases from USCCB
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 WASHINGTON—Father Michael J.K. Fuller, a priest of the diocese of Rockford, Illinois, has been named executive director of the Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

The appointment was made by Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, USCCB General Secretary, and is effective August 8.

"I am confident that Father Fuller's ministerial skills and theological background offers the Secretariat well-established expertise that will complement and strengthen the office in service to the bishops," Msgr. Bransfield said.

Father Fuller has been associate professor and chair of the Department of Spiritual Theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary since 2011. He has also been editor of the Chicago Studies Theological Journal since 2012, and since 2002, has served as spiritual director and instructor for the Diaconate Formation Program of the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois; and as instructor for the Diaconate Formation Program of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Prior to that, Father Fuller served as instructor, assistant professor and chair of the Department of Christian Life, (2002-2011), at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. He taught at the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, (2004-2008); and was instructor in Health Care Ethics at Saint Anthony School of Nursing, Rockford, Illinois, (1998-2000). He also served as associate pastor of St. Bridget parish, Loves Park, Illinois, (1997-2000).

Father Fuller holds a doctorate in sacred theology. He also holds a master of divinity, a licentiate of sacred theology and a bachelor of sacred theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Rockford, in 1997. Prior to entering seminary formation, Father Fuller spent two years in Swaziland, Africa, as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Father Fuller has written extensively in numerous scholarly publications and is the author of two books: Daily Prayer 2008 and The Virgin Martyrs: A Hagiographical and Mystagogical Interpretation. He is also a member of the North American Patristics Association, the Catholic Theological Association of America and the National Association of Diaconate Directors.

He succeeds Father Peter French Ryan, a member of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, who recently concluded his term.
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MEDIA CONTACT:
Norma Montenegro Flynn
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18 hours 54 min

WASHINGTON—The U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage has released the next video in the series highlighting the unique meaning of marriage. Entitled Made for Freedom, the newly released video features experts in various fields as well as personal stories illustrating the importance of marriage to society and the necessity for people to have the freedom to express their beliefs about marriage.

"Made for Freedom is designed to invite discussion about the importance of marriage and religious freedom in our society," said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the Subcommittee. "Now that the institution of marriage has been redefined in civil law, it is even more important for all members of the Church to witness to the truth about marriage in the public square. We must have courage and act with conviction, knowing that authentic marriage is a gift to be treasured."

Made for Freedom is part of an educational initiative entitled Marriage: Unique for a Reason which seeks to assist Catholics and all people of good will to understand the unique gift of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The first and second videos in the series are Made for Each Other and Made for Life, and there is a video in Spanish entitled El Matrimonio: hecho para el amor y la vida. Each video can serve as a discussion-starter and resource for clergy, catechists, teachers, and other leaders. These resources are available online at www.marriageuniqueforareason.org and are for purchase through www.usccbpublishing.org. A Made for Freedom study guide is forthcoming.
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Keywords: Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, USCCB, Made for Life, Marriage: Unique for a Reason, Made for Each Other, Made for Freedom, marriage, children, fathers, mothers, religious freedom, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone
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MEDIA CONTACT:
Norma Montenegro Flynn
O: 202-541-3202

1 day 14 hours

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From: Tristate Catholic news and features, daily
Posted
Life's 5th Quarter, a youth-focused Mass and prayer vigil at Planned Parenthood, last month. Photo by The Catholic Beat.

Life’s 5th Quarter, a youth-focused Mass and prayer vigil at Planned Parenthood, last month. Photo by The Catholic Beat.

A guide to the Planned Parenthood case against Ohio

Why was Planned Parenthood de-funded?

Last year series of undercover videos filmed by the Center for Medical Progress, which carried out a “citizen journalist” sting operation, revealed that Planned Parenthood doctors and executives were open to contracting to provide body parts from aborted babies to medical research companies in return for money — and that some affiliates were already doing so. Doctors discussed changing abortion procedures to better provide desired parts, fished through aborted remains to show the undercover filmmakers the “quality” of parts they could provide, and even skirted the federal ban on so-called partial birth abortion (delivering a baby feet-first, alive, and then killing him or her while the head is still in the birth canal) because it was illegal to plan to do the procedure, not to do it once an abortion had already started.

Planned Parenthood has insisted that the videos were “heavily edited,” which is true (all video is heavily edited), and that the edits were misleading and cast doubt on anything in them, which has been refuted by several studies of the footage, including the one paid for by Planned Parenthood itself. Many states, including Ohio, launched investigations into whether Planned Parenthood affiliates were selling aborted bodies and, if not, how they were disposing of them. An investigation by the Ohio Attorney General’s office found that the three abortion businesses were not exchanging bodies or tissue for money, but were mixing the bodies in with general medical waste and disposing of it all as trash.

Attorney General Mike DeWine said that disposing of aborted babies in this way violates Ohio’s rule that they must be treated respectfully. Planned Parenthood has also sued the state over this finding — one of several pending suits the company has against the state.

Meanwhile, across the country pro-life voters and others who had not known about how abortion businesses deal with the dead bodies that are their “waste stream” demanded that businesses that abort babies not be given taxpayer money for other services they provide. More than half of American states have enacted, or are considering, laws that prohibit public money from going to any business that aborts children.

Ohio’s De-funding law

A law passed and signed by Gov. Kasich in February prohibits most state and state-controlled grants from going to any organization that performs abortions.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio sued on May 11th to stop the defunding. The nation’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood runs a network of affiliated “family planning” businesses that each offer services related to sex and birth control. The bulk of their business consists of dispensing birth control medications and devices, testing for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, and basic gynecological exams. Affiliates also run various programs including a teen sex education program that includes videos and materials often criticized as obscene for encouraging teens to try bondage, bestiality, same-sex acts, pornography, sex games, and other practices typically considered deviant or harmful, as well as encouraging promiscuity as normal and harmless.

Though only a fraction of affiliates perform abortions, all Planned Parenthood affiliates refer patients to them and every group of affiliates must now include at least onr that does abortions. Well above 90% of pregnant women who go to Planned Parenthood have their babies aborted. Planned Parenthood’s market share of American abortions has increased steadily over more than a decade, even though abortions overall have gone down,  because of the company’s business strategies. These include include taking out competitors (Planned Parenthood runs almost half of all abortion businesses in America), requiring all affiliates to refer to abortion centers (previously optional) and building abortion ever-larger “surgical centers.”

Though serving only about 2.5 million patients nationwide (and because of the chain’s adding STI testing services, these clients include men), Planned Parenthood does more 330,000 abortions every year, more than a third of all abortions in the country. In Ohio, Planned Parenthood operates three surgical centers that do sterilizations as well as abortions. According to records submitted by the company for renewing its license, in 2014 the Cincinnati abortion center killed more than 2500 unborn children. Health records show that abortions in Ohio, like abortions throughout the country, disproportionally kill poor and African-American children.

Top Planned Parenthood executives are paid handsomely — CEO Cecile Richards receives more than $600,000 a year, and the company is famous for its lavish events and expensive offices — and the affiiliates collectively receive more than half a billion dollars in federal, state, and local grants. Although several affiliates have been convicted of billing fraud, such as charging low-income women for services that were already paid for by grants, the business’s loose structure allows the network to be relatively unaffected by failures of individual affiliates. Its biggest stream of income that is not paid for by grants comes from abortions, which in most cases can’t be paid for by public money.

Planned Parenthood says that offering abortion is an essential part of its mission and that it will continue to expand its abortion business internationally as well as in the United States.

Planned Parenthood’s Suit and the Judge’s Decision: Based on Harm to Business, Not on Merit

Masses and rosary processions to the Cincinnati Planned Parenthood abortion business every Saturday. Vigils, rallies, and other prayer events are held at the business every day of the year. Photo by The Catholic Beat.

Masses and rosary processions to the Cincinnati Planned Parenthood abortion business every Saturday. Vigils, rallies, and other prayer events are held at the business every day of the year. Photo by The Catholic Beat.

Ohio says it has the right to choose what businesses it funds, and that it will no longer fund any business that aborts children, but will instead give funds to other clinics and providers.

Planned Parenthood’s suit says that the plan is a violation of the US constitution under the first and 14th amendments. According to the suit, Planned Parenthood says the funding ban violates the company’s first amendment rights to free association and free expression — the former because, the company says, abortion is legal and it formed an association to carry out this legal activity; and the latter because Planned Parenthood advocates abortion and the suit (it says) is an attempt to stop it from expressing that advocacy by putting it out of business, and thus making it impossible for it to advocate anything.

The suit also claims that taking away funding is a violation its 14th amendment right to due process and equal protection, and that refusing to fund it is an act of retaliation against it because it “disfavors” abortion.

UD District Court Judge Michael Barrett did not rule on the the merits of these claims — which would amount to saying that Ohio must fund any organization engaging in legal activity. Instead, he ruled that the case is likely to proceed and that if the law went into effect it would cause irreparable harm to the company, but if it were delayed it would not cause irreparable harm to the state.

However, Barrett did make his personal opinion known, writing:  “There is… no doubt that the Ohio Legislature [enacted the law] for the purpose of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking to obtain an abortion.”

Paula Westwood, Executive Director of Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, says the suit is a ploy and that the company has a long history of delaying action against it by filing lawsuits.

“Their response is always to file a lawsuit, to tie things up in the courts,” she says. “State governments don’t want to deal with the hassle.”

Planned Parenthood has said that none of its Ohio affiliates will close if the grants are given to other providers, she explained, but the suit shows that loss of any funds is crippling to their organization. More than that, she said, it endangers the political clout they have developed through years of marketing and millions of dollars in endorsements.

“They fear the loss of being considered a legitimate healthcare provider as much as, and possibly more than, their loss of funds,” she said. While state action does not endanger Planned Parenthood’s status as a Medicaid provider, losing their prestige could do so.

 

Bob Meyers, legal counsel for Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, said that neither the suit not the judge’s order surprises him. But one thing about the decision did come as a surprise: Judge Barrett’s opinion about the state law being intended to stop women from having abortions.

“What is really shocking is that the judge would be so biased as to write this in his Order,” he said. “The funds that were denied Planned Parenthood have nothing to do with abortion and therefore can pose no obstacle to any woman seeking one.”

What is the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion?

The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is objectively wrong and a grave sin. Paragraphs 2258 – 2330 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church explain the Church’s teachings on numerous life issues, and state that abortion is a violation of the Fifth Commandment, which prohibits the intentional taking of human life, directly or indirectly, except in legitimate defense. “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception,” it says. “From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.”

The Catechism also explains that ‘the inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation” [emphasis in the original], which means that it is not a prohibition for Catholics but is contrary to human nature and thus must be prohibited by law.

Click here for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops web page on abortion.

Read Archbishop Shnurr’s letter on defunding Planned Parenthood here.

Read the judge’s decision here.

Click here to see all our current stories and photos.

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23 hours 56 min

 

At the annual Corpus Christi procession for St. Theresa of Avila and St. William Churches in Cincinnati's Westwood/Price Hill neighborhoods, people set up temporary shrines in their yards for the procession to stop for prayer.

For the annual Corpus Christi procession from St. Theresa of Avila (Westwood) to St. William (Price Hill) Churches, people set up temporary shrines in their yards for the procession to stop for prayer. This will be the procession’s 19th year.

Sunday is the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). Originally celebrated on Thursday (and still celebrated on Thursday by Latin parishes), this ancient feast was first commemorated on Holy Thursday, and in the 1200s was moved to May in the Netherlands because of the visions of Belgian nun St. Juliana. Pope Urban IV moved the feast to the Thursday following Trinity Sunday and St. Thomas Aquinas composed the Office, including the hymn to Christi’s body in the Eucharist Pange Lingua Gloriosi, and the sequence (poem chanted before the Gospel) Lauda Sion.

The Feast traditionally includes a Eucharistic procession in which the Body of Christ is carried through the streets as a public witness to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. In different countries the procession took different forms, some elaborate and some simple. While Eucharistic processions fell out of favor in the United States for several decades, many parishes have revived them in recent years, especially for the Feast of Corpus Christi. Some Corpus Christi processions are elaborate and include singing and multiple stops for prayer; some travel from one parish church to a second church. Some are short processions through church grounds, or even simply through the church.

Here is a list of area Corpus Christi processions:

At Old St. Mary's Church in Over-the-Rhine, parishioners walk around the church to its enclosed courtyard. Photo by Donna Franer.

At Old St. Mary’s Church in Over-the-Rhine, parishioners walk around the church to its enclosed courtyard. Photo by Donna Franer.


THURSDAY

May 26, Corpus Christi Procession at Holy Family Church (Dayton, OH), following 7 pm Mass. Holy Family is the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Latin Mass parish, so the feast falls on its traditional day. The parish will spend the day decorating the church steps and sidewalks with designs in dyed wood chips. All are welcome.

SATURDAY

May 28, Corpus Christi Procession a Emmanuel Catholic Church (Dayton, OH), following 5:15 Mass. The Eucharist will be carried out into the street in procession and will follow a path lined with colorful religious artwork made from dyed wood shavings that are designed by the youth of the parish.  All are welcome to participate!

May 28, Corpus Christi Mass and Procession at All Saints-St. Paul New Alsace, 5:30 pm.

 

SUNDAY

May 29, Corpus Christi Procession at Our Lady of the Rosary Church (Greenhills, OH) following 11:30 am Mass. First-ever Corpus Christi procession for this parish; all welcome!

May 29, Corpus Christi Mass and Procession at All Saints – St. John Campus (Guilford, IN), 11 am.

May 29, 19th Annual Price Hill Corpus Christi Procession from St. Teresa of Avila Church to St. William Church (Cincinnati), 2 pm. Begins with prayer service at St. Teresa of Avila, followed by procession to St. William with stops at temporary shrines set up outside homes for prayer. For information on parking, etc., call  513.921.0247.

May 29, Sung Mass and Corpus Christi Procession at Old St. Mary’s Church (Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati), 9 am.

May 29, Corpus Christi Procession at St. Cecilia Church (Oakley/Cincinnati), following 10 am Mass. All are invited to  join the parishioners of St. Cecilia for this centuries-old tradition of adoration and evangelization, as they process with the Blessed Sacrament along the streets of Oakley. There will be stops along the way for prayer and singing.

May 29, Corpus Christi Procession at Queen of Peace Church (Millville, OH), following 11 am Mass. A Rosary will be recited during the procession through the streets along with singing, and at the end, a Solemn Benediction will take place in Church

May 29, Corpus Christi Procession at St. Gertrude the Great Church (Madeira, OH), following 12:30 pm Mass. The Dominican Friars and Novices will be in attendance and the parish will also celebrate the second anniversary of its Mother of Mercy Perpetual Adoration Chapel.

May 29, Corpus Christi Procession at St. Remy Church (Russia, OH) following 11 am Mass. Route: through the Village of Russia.

May 29, Corpus Christi Procession at St. Julie Billiart Church (Hamilton, OH), following 11 am Mass. First Communicants will help lead the procession, which will include both the parish’s English- and Spanish-speaking members.

At St. Cecilia Church in Oakley, the parish processes through the neighborhood. In a Eucharistic procession the Body of Christ is carried in an elaborate carrier called a monstrance beneath a Eucharistic canopy. The priest wears a special scarf-like vestment called a humeral veil, which covers his hands to demonstrate that Christ, not the priest, is being glorified.

At St. Cecilia Church in Oakley, the parish processes through the neighborhood. In a Eucharistic procession the Body of Christ is carried in an elaborate carrier called a monstrance beneath a Eucharistic canopy. The priest wears a cope and a special scarf-like vestment called a humeral veil, which covers his hands to demonstrate that Christ, not the priest, is being glorified.

May 29, Corpus Christi Procession at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, following 11 am Mass. The Blessed Sacrament will be carried through the cathedral, concluding in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel with Benediction.

May 29, Corpus Christi Procession from Our Lady of the Rosary Church to Holy Cross Church(Dayton, OH) following 11 am Mass. Distance is seven-tenths of a mile. All are invited to participate as a demonstration of our Catholic belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Call the St. Peter Parish Administration Office at 233-1503 for  information.

May 29, Corpus Christi Procession for St. Louis (Owensville, OH), Holy Trinity (Batavia), St. Philomena (Stonelick) and St. Ann (Williamsburg), 1:30 pm. Procession begins at St Louis church and ends with Benediction in the park — the first Corpus Christi procession for the four-parish region in six years.

May 29, Corpus Christi Procession at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church (Burlington, KY) following 12:30 pm Mass. Mass will end with Exposition, followed by a procession out to the church and around our parking lot. Several Eucharistic litanies are chanted and recited during the procession, which concludes in the church with  Benediction

May 29, Corpus Christi Procession at the Church of the Immaculate Conception (Dayton, OH), following 11 am Mass. Procession to the outdoor shrine of Our Lady of Belmont.  

May 29, Corpus Christi Procession at St. Paul Catholic Church (Yellow Springs, OH), following 11 am Mass. Join St. Paul for what may be its last Corpus Christi procession — the parish will become part of a parish region in July when pastor, Fr. Anthony Geraci, reitres, so much will be changed. Procession will go on rain or shine: If good weather, it will be outside around the chruch with bells and incense. If good weather, “we will do a few laps around the interior of the church in grand style.” In either case the choir will lead the Tantum Ergo at the Reposition — “and we do have a pretty good choir.” All welcome: ”“This is one for the books.  Please come and join us as we finish the Solemnities of Ordinary Time with a bang.”

May 29, Corpus Christi Procession at Holy Trinity Church (West Union, OH) following 11 am Mass. The Knights of Columbus will be serving all ministries of the Mass as well..

May 29, Corpus Christi Procession at St. Clement Church (St. Bernard, OH), 6:30 pm. Evening, Franciscan-style procession through the neighborhood around the church.

Looking for more Catholic events? To see our continually updated long-term calendar, see our Calendar of Events page.

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1 day 2 min
The ten sets of twins attending Newport Central Catholic include five sets of freshman twins, one set of sophomore twins, and four sets of seniors.

The ten sets of twins attending Newport Central Catholic include five sets of freshman twins, one set of sophomore twins, and four sets of seniors.

Ten sets of twins who attend Newport Central Catholic High School pose for a memorable photo.

 

They inlclude freshmen Noah and Hope Floyd, Jared and Jessica Gabbard, Lindsey and Elena Schmidt, Kara and Kacy Zimmerman,  and Katie and Kyle Kelly; sophomores Kristen and Kyle Losey; and seniors Maleek and Makayla Lawrence, Parker and Zack Osburg, Brian and Erik Anderson, and Robert and Madison Stoelting.

 

Photo courtesy Newport Central Catholic High School.

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1 day 7 min
Some of the more than 100 people who marked the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision with a prayer vigil at Cincinnati's Planned Parenthood abortion center last week.

Some of the more than 100 people who marked the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision with a prayer vigil at Cincinnati’s Planned Parenthood abortion center in January.

UPDATE 5/24: Link to Judge’s decision added

Ohio Planned Parenthood affiliates should have been cut off from most state money Monday, if a law signed by Gov. Kasich had gone into effect.

Instead, a Cincinnati judge granted Planned Parenthood a temporary stay Monday afternoon. It will delay the law until June 6.

Almost $1.4 million in grants to the nation’s largest abortion business would have been ended if the law had gone into effect, freeing the money to go to clinics and other heath providers that do not kill.

“If ‘choice’ is so important to Planned Parenthood, why do they and their allies refuse to let Ohio voters choose how their tax dollars are spent?” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, which had made social media posts announcing that the law had gone into effect earlier in the day. “Through their elected leaders, pro-life voters have determined the need for a fiscal policy that does not come at the cost of human lives. Elections matter – one special interest’s dissatisfaction with the consequences doesn’t give them the power to compel taxpayers into a business partnership they don’t want.”

For UD District Court Michael Barrett’s decision, click here.

Read the Cincinnati Enquirer’s coverage here.

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1 day 23 hours
Ordinary time doesn't mean "uneventful time." All time is extraordinary because of the incarnation of Christ. Photo of St. Henry Church (Elsmere, KY) by Kris Staverman.

Ordinary time doesn’t mean “uneventful time.” All time is extraordinary because of the incarnation of Christ. Photo of St. Henry Church (Elsmere, KY) by Kris Staverman.

This photo was snapped at St. Henry Church (Elsmere, KY) after the Christmas decorations were taken down and the green altar cloth was laid for Ordinary Time. Despite the drab name, “ordinary” doesn’t mean dull or uneventful — it means the ordered, or numbered. days between feasts. Because of the incarnation of Christ, there are no “ordinary” days in the sense we generally use the term. All days are extraordinary, because they have been transformed by the Son of God.

Photo by Kris Staverman, courtesy St. Henry Church.

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2 days 6 min