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JUST IN: Pope Mandates for Future Holy See Diplomats a Year in Missionary Service

Expressed in Letter to President of Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy to Go Into Effect Next 2020/2021 Academic Year

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33rd Meeting of Council of Cardinals In Progress

"C6" Continues Work of Curial Reform

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Cardinal Dolan’s Column from Cuba

Travels That Embrace Church’s Global Mission

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Pope Marks Start of 91st Judicial Year of Vatican City State Tribunal

'Pursue the Path of Justice'

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Fulfilling the Law

Articles from February 15-16, 2020

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Update: Cardinal Dolan meets with Cuban President Diaz-Canel in Havana

IMAGE: CNS photo/Rhina Guidos

By Rhina Guidos

HAVANA (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan met privately with the president of the Republic of Cuba Feb. 11, the last full day of a six-day visit to the island nation mostly filled with visits to Cuban prelates and humanitarian organizations and facilities where the island's Catholics operate services for the poor and elderly.

"The meeting went very well, and it was no surprise because he's always extraordinarily cordial," the archbishop of New York said in an interview with Catholic News Service following the meeting with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez in Havana. "I said I'm not here as a politician. I'm here as a pastor, Mr. President. I want you to know how much I admire my brother bishops (in Cuba).

"We've been very thrilled to meet priests and women religious, lay leaders and the faithful and they are happy, and they love Jesus and his church. I'm so grateful for the openness of Cuba to allow priests and sisters and lay faithful leaders into Cuba to help in the mission of the church."

The meeting lasted 50 minutes, Cardinal Dolan said, adding that he reiterated the ardent desire of the church "to just be a partner in the public square in any project that enhances the dignity of the human person, human life, the dignity of the family, the importance of marriage, and the real deep heritage of faith found in the Cuban people."

He said he found the president to be "realistic" but also "yearning to see if there could be good relations."

Cardinal Dolan said he'd met Diaz-Canel twice before and the last time was in 2018, the year he took over the helm as head of Cuba from Raul Castro. Diaz-Canel visited New York later that fall and spoke before the United Nations. He asked for a meeting with Cardinal Dolan at St. Patrick's Cathedral and during that visit, he gave the prelate a present: a statue of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre.

Though church members, along with other religious groups on the island, suffered persecution after the triumph of the Cuban revolution, Cuba's Catholic Church underwent a wave of openness from government officials following the 1998 visit of St. John Paul II to the island. Then Pope Benedict XVI visited in 2012, followed by Pope Francis in 2015 -- all with messages of salvation.

The Vatican, with the help of Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega of Havana, who died in July 2019, played a major role in the rapprochement between Cuba and the U.S. and the two countries announced the reestablishment of diplomatic relations in late 2014, which included the reopening of their respective embassies in Havana and Washington.

The Catholic Church has constantly held that it's better to engage Cuba instead of isolating it, and efforts -- from the Vatican to the U.S. bishops -- have emphasized diplomatic solutions.

However, with a Donald Trump presidency came sanctions and new restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba. Cardinal Dolan said that Diaz-Canel said he was appreciative of the efforts by the Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, saying that dialogue is always better than antagonism and that mutual exchanges in commerce and culture are beneficial to the understanding of people, "and I affirmed that," he said.

Cardinal Dolan said he agreed that those who suffer the consequences of measures such as the embargo are not the government leaders but the common people of Cuba.

"And when you see the huge shortages of food and medicine, it does strike one as unfair," he said.

To those who would criticize his meeting with Diaz-Canel, he said he has plenty on his plate, but if he's invited to visit a place and the visit might do some good, that's his interest as a pastor.

"I don't sit around wanting to make trips. I got enough to do. I've got a full-time day job," he said.

He said that during the meeting, Diaz-Canel told him that Cuba was the only place in the Americas where three popes have visited.

"And I said 'No, no. There's one where four popes have been, namely St. Patrick's Cathedral. Then I gave him a gift" from the cathedral, he said.

Cardinal Dolan said if others could pay visits like his to the island, including educational leaders, business leaders, artists, writers and leaders of other faith communities, "I think how things would warm up."

The meeting made headlines in the government newspaper Granma Feb. 12, which published two stories about the cardinal's visit saying he had been welcomed to the island with "hospitality and respect," and mentioning his meetings with Cuban bishops and his visits to "places associated with church activities" in Cuba.

A second article mentioned the cardinal's "visit of solidarity with the Cuban people for whom he has declared affection on more than one occasion."

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Copyright © 2020 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 [email protected]

British Columbia couple on quarantined cruise ship relying on faith

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Camales-Torrijos family

By Agnieszka Ruck

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (CNS) -- The morning routine hasn't changed for Marichu and Ding Camales-Torrijos since they and all other passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship were quarantined following discovery of the coronavirus on board.

The couple has breakfast delivered by mask-wearing cruise staff, they listen to live updates from the captain about the spread of the virus, they send online messages to family and friends, and they pray.

"We start the day with prayer thanking God that we are symptom-free," Marichu told The B.C. Catholic, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, Feb. 13. The couple, parishioners at St. Matthew Parish in Surrey, boarded the ship for a Southeast Asia cruise 26 days earlier. It was a gift to Ding ahead of his 65th birthday.

They made stops in Vietnam, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong, when on the last day of the trip a case of the coronavirus, also called COVID-19, was discovered on board. The ship was placed on quarantine, docked in Tokyo, and anchored for the next two weeks. The couple don't expect to leave the ship until Feb. 19.

On Feb. 13, 44 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on board, bringing the total number of infected individuals to 218 of the 3,700 cruise passengers and crew.

"We are taking this in stride on a day-to-day basis," Marichu said.

The couple is confined to their 200-square-foot cabin during the quarantine. They must wear masks when their meals are delivered and during the single hour a day they are allowed to walk outside. The rest of the time they stay inside, praying, sending messages to other passengers through online chat groups, and trying to stay positive.

Marichu is unaware of any Catholic priests on board the ship, but as a lector, extraordinary minister of holy Communion and member of Couples for Christ at St. Matthew, she is trying to minister to her fellow travelers by offering an optimistic outlook.

When an elderly passenger was taken off the ship and sent to hospital for treatment, Marichu reached out to the man's wife, who remained on board. Through online messages, Marichu tries to provide comfort and encouragement.

"Without faith, I don't think I would last this long," Marichu said.

Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller has called for prayers for those suffering from the virus.

"As Chinese health and political officials struggle to contain the virus, please pray that they see in the response of the global community a solidarity rooted in Christian charity. May God grant wisdom and healing as the countries of the world work to prevent a global epidemic," he prayed.

Although Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia's deputy provincial health officer, has said just four cases of COVID-19 have been discovered in the province and the risk of contracting the illness is low, some Catholic communities have taken precautions.

Father Richard Au, pastor of Canadian Martyrs Parish in Richmond, British Columbia, has obtained a dispensation from attending Mass for members of his largely Chinese congregation who have recently traveled to regions affected by the virus, have been in contact with anyone who might be infected, or are coughing or feverish. Those who do not attend Mass "must practice other forms of piety for an hour" such as reading the Bible or praying the rosary.

Since the announcement, Father Au has noticed a decrease in attendance at Sunday Mass, while the hand sanitizer dispensers are in high demand, as are the automatic door openers, with parishioner using their elbows instead of hands to push the button.

"Everyone has someone or has a connection" to someone in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the virus, he said. The constant information and misinformation about new cases, compounded by fear, has led to parishioners showing up at the church "at nighttime, knocking on the door and pouring their hearts out and their tears out."

 

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Copyright © 2020 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 [email protected]

Remains of aborted babies now in final resting place in Indiana cemetery

IMAGE: CNS photo/Indiana Office of the Attorney General

By Ann Carey

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CNS) -- A cold, gray, wintry day in South Bend seemed like an appropriate setting for the burial of 2,411 aborted babies, whose remains were interred in Southlawn Cemetery in the city Feb. 12.

The babies had been aborted between 2000 and 2003 by the late Dr. Ulrich "George" Klopfer, who operated abortion clinics in Indiana since the 1970s and performed an estimated 30,000 abortions before having his license revoked in 2016.

The medically preserved remains of those fetuses had been transported across state lines and stored for years on Klopfer's Illinois property, in his garage and in the trunk of a car. The grisly discovery of the remains was made after his death Sept. 3 last year.

Neither his family nor authorities have been able to determine why Klopfer kept the remains instead of properly disposing of them. Indiana law now requires fetal remains to be cremated or buried.

Records found with the remains indicated the abortions had taken place in South Bend, Fort Wayne and Gary, so Indiana Attorney General Curtis T. Hill Jr. took possession of them.

Originally, an effort was made to determine in which city each abortion took place so that the remains could be returned home for burial. The state received several offers of burial locations, including an offer by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend for space and services at Catholic Cemetery in Fort Wayne.

However, Klopfer's records were so incomplete and inaccurate that Hill's office was unable to determine where each abortion occurred. Thus, it was decided to bury the remains together, "each connected by their common fate," Hill explained at the burial service. South Bend was chosen as the site because it is the most central of the three cities involved.

In his opening remarks at the burial service, Hill told a somber crowd of over 200 mourners: "The shocking discovery of 2,411 medically preserved fetal remains in Illinois left in a garage and in the trunk of a car was horrifying to anyone with normal sensibilities. Regrettably, there is no shortage of depravity in our world today, including due regard for the most vulnerable among us. And so, we brought them home, back to Indiana."

The attorney general said that not only was it Indiana law that fetal remains be buried, it was fitting and proper for the aborted babies to receive a final resting place, just as it is appropriate for any human being. He observed that people hoped it could never happen that 2,411 unborn human beings would been terminated, discarded, lost and forgotten.

"But friends, we will not forget," Hill said. "We therefore honor and memorialize these unborn that their lives be remembered not for their brevity, but for how their discovery has impacted our collective conscience. May each of the 2,411 buried here rest in peace."

Hill thanked Indiana, Illinois and local authorities who worked together to bring the babies to their final resting place and acknowledged the many offers of assistance by countless others across the state.

Palmer Funeral Home donated the burial space at its Southlawn Cemetery and a memorial stone, which reads: "In memory of the 2,411 precious unborn buried here on Feb. 12, 2020." The funeral home also provided a tent with chairs for family members, chairs that remained empty during the brief burial service.

The attorney general also thanked the 200-plus mourners for coming to "personally honor and memorialize these 2,411 precious unborn who now stand as a reminder of the fragility of life and of the obligation of the state and of the nation to preserve human dignity and respect for all."

After Hill left the podium to conduct a news conference, a multifaith prayer service took place, led by a variety of religious leaders. Among them was Father Glenn Kohrman, pastor of South Bend's Holy Family and St. John the Baptist parishes and a board member of Catholic Charities and Right to Life Michiana.

Father Kohrman offered a modified version of the Catholic Church's prayer of Commendation of an Infant Who Died Before Baptism.

Sister Agnes Marie Regan of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration in Mishawaka, Indiana, attended the burial service with several of her Franciscan sisters, and probably spoke for the hundreds of mourners when she told Today's Catholic, diocesan newspaper of Fort Wayne-South Bend, that she attended because, "These are our brothers and sisters."

A memorial service at the gravesite will take place Feb. 23, sponsored by the right to life groups of Lake County, Michiana and Northeast Indiana.

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Carey writes for Today's Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

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Copyright © 2020 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 [email protected]

Pope shares with U.S. bishops his frustration with reaction to Amazon text

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis told a group of U.S. bishops that, like them, he is accused of not being courageous or not listening to the Holy Spirit when he says or does something someone disagrees with -- like not mentioning married priests in his document on the Amazon.

"You could see his consternation when he said that for some people it was all about celibacy and not about the Amazon," said Bishop William A. Wack of Pensacola-Tallahassee.

"He said some people say he is not courageous because he didn't listen to the Spirit," the bishop told Catholic News Service Feb. 13. "He said, 'So they're not mad at the Spirit. They're mad at me down here,'" as if they assume the Holy Spirit agreed with them.

Bishop Wack was one of 15 bishops from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina who spent close to three hours with Pope Francis Feb. 13 as part of their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican. They were joined by two from Arizona -- Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger of Tucson and Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares of Phoenix -- who had been unable to meet the pope with their group Feb. 10.

During the meeting, one bishop asked Pope Francis for three or four points he would like them to share with their people from the document "Querida Amazonia" (Beloved Amazonia), which was released the day before and offered the pope's reflections on the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon.

Auxiliary Bishop Joel M. Konzen of Atlanta told CNS that the pope said the most important message in the document for U.S. Catholics is to care for the planet, "that this is a grave matter."

Then, he said, the pope told the bishops that months or even years go into producing documents and what gets reported by the media "is one line" or that "the pope didn't have the courage to change the rules of the church."

Bishop Wack said the pope told them the synod met "'to talk about the issues of the church in the Amazon. Other people wanted me to talk about celibacy. They made that the issue. But that wasn't the issue of this synod.'"

Pope Francis told the bishops that they and their priests must teach and preach about care for the environment, Bishop Wack said. "He said even if people don't want to hear it. How can we deny that things are changing? How can we deny that we're hurting our future? And he said, if we don't talk about these things, well, shame on us. We have to preach the Gospel, and this is part of the Gospel."

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami said Pope Francis also talked about what he means by "synodality" and members of the church listening to each other, praying about issues and trying to discern a way forward together. The synod, he said, is not "a parliament in which people take majority votes on a whole bunch of issues."

Among the reactions concerning the exhortation that caught Pope Francis' eye, he said, was a commentary that said "the pope lacked courage" on the issue of ordaining married men.

"But the synod is not about the courage of the pope or the lack of the courage of the pope," Archbishop Wenski paraphrased the pope as telling them. "The synod is about the action of the Holy Spirit and discernment of the Holy Spirit. And if there is no Holy Spirit, there is no discernment."

If discernment and the action of the Holy Spirit are missing, then it is just "a meeting and it's people sharing opinions and maybe research, but it's not necessarily a synod unless it's in some way governed by the Holy Spirit," Bishop Konzen said.

Bishop Wack said Pope Francis also explained that synodality and discernment are processes that continue even after a synod has met and a document has been published.

"He said, 'You can't just meet once and then say, "Oh, we have all the answers," but the conversation continues,'" the bishop said. "And so, he said, 'What we did is we raised these issues, and now we have to deal with them,'" continuing to invoke the Holy Spirit and discern the path for the future.

As with the 13 groups of U.S. bishops that preceded them, the bishops also spoke with the pope about the clerical sexual abuse crisis, immigration, youth and young adult ministry and what it means to be a bishop.

Bishop Wack said he asked for advice about finding balance as a bishop since "we are supposed to be shepherds, we're supposed to be priests for the people, other Christs. And yet, just like with our pastors, like so many people working in the church, as well as parents and people working in world, we are so busy with so many other things."

Pope Francis spoke at length about being a bishop, he said. "He said if we're too busy doing other things, we put those aside; we pray, and we preach, and we serve our people."

Archbishop Wenski told CNS that in covering the church or Pope Francis' teachings, the press often uses "categories from the world, and they don't fully appreciate that we're dealing with a different way of being, a different way of thinking."

The bishops' meeting with the pope, he added, was a moment to "be with the pope, see the pope and to hear the pope" in a relaxed atmosphere and discuss issues "that concern us bishops throughout the world."

"That was a great opportunity because often times, as bishops, we experience the pope through the filter of the news media. And it's good to experience him without that filter; (to) experience him face to face," he said.

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Contributing to this story were Cindy Wooden, Junno Arocho Esteves and Carol Glatz.

 

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Copyright © 2020 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 [email protected]

To prevent spread of COVID-19, Hong Kong Diocese cancels Masses

IMAGE: CNS Photo/Francis Wong

By

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The threat of spreading the coronavirus has forced Catholic officials in Hong Kong to suspend all church programs Feb. 15-28, including Sunday Masses and the Ash Wednesday liturgy that marks the beginning of Lent.

Ucanews.com reported Cardinal John Tong, apostolic administrator of Hong Kong, said the "disappointing" decision had been made "because the next two weeks will be a crucial time to suppress the epidemic."

"Some church members may be disappointed" with the diocesan move, the cardinal said in his Feb. 13 pastoral letter. "This is not an easy decision."

The move comes amid global fears that the epidemic, now called COVID-19, has worsened in China against the prediction of experts. The epidemic, first reported in Wuhan city of Hubei province, has spread across the world and claimed more than 1,300 lives, with more than 60,000 confirmed cases as of Feb. 13, mostly in China.

Hong Kong, which has open borders with China, has reported 50 confirmed cases and one death. The densely populated Hong Kong city-state of 7.4 million people is on high alert to check the virus, as thousands have crossed over from mainland China to avoid the infection, ucanews.com reported.

"At this difficult time," Catholics must "deepen our trust in God and implement our Christian love for our neighbors and all people," the cardinal's message said.

Cardinal Tong said he wanted Catholics to fulfill their Mass obligation by participating in Mass online, receiving Holy Communion spiritually and meditating on the Scriptures or saying the rosary at home.

He also urged Catholics to help each other; share anti-epidemic materials; live the Gospel virtues of faith, hope and love; and pray for each other.

As part of efforts to arrest the outbreak, Hong Kong has set up a slew of mass quarantine camps to isolate victims. So far, around 2,200 people have been placed in quarantine camps in Hong Kong, and some people have criticized the government for setting up the camps in residential areas.

The new mandatory quarantine rules took effect Feb. 8, with people arriving from the mainland required to be quarantined for 14 days to curb outbreaks in the community. People leaving the camps without permission commit a criminal offense punishable with a six-month jail term and a fine of $25,000 (US$3,220), the government has said.

With the prices of essential goods soaring and unavailability of medical masks, residents have raided supermarkets and pharmacies, braving chilly winds.

Schools in Hong Kong will extend closures until March 16, Kevin Yeung, Hong Kong's education secretary, said Feb. 13.

The government has given its 176,000 civil servants the option of working from home until Feb. 23 to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

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Editors: The original story can be found at www.ucanews.com/news/hong-kong-cancels-church-gatherings-ash-wednesday-liturgy/87218.

 

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Copyright © 2020 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 [email protected]