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Kentucky attorney general argues he can defend pro-life law in court

Daniel Cameron, Attorney General of Kentucky. Credit: Kentucky Office of the Attorney General.

Washington D.C., Jun 16, 2021 / 17:19 pm (CNA).

Kentucky’s Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a brief on Monday in support of his ability to defend his state’s law banning dilation and evacuation abortions, as the issue heads to the Supreme Court. 

Cameron filed the brief June 14 for the case Cameron v. EMW Women’s Surgical Center. Unlike other cases relating to abortion, this does not concern the legality of the Kentucky law. Rather, it concerns who is permitted to defend the law in court. 

The US Supreme Court agreed in March to consider the case.

Cameron is a Republican. Kentucky’s current governor, Andy Beshear, is a Democrat who does not support the law. 

In 2018, Kentucky’s then-governor Matt Bevin, a Republican, signed into law a bill which banned the use of dilation and evacuation abortions. The bill was quickly challenged by an abortion clinic, EMW Women’s Surgical Center, and a federal judge agreed that the law was unconstitutional. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals also found the bill to be unconstitutional. 

In 2019, Bevin lost in his re-election bid to Beshear. Beshear and the state’s health secretary declined to challenge the Sixth Circuit’s decision, but the newly-elected attorney general, Cameron, moved to intervene to defend the law. 

The Sixth Circuit denied Cameron’s request to reconsider the law, and he then appealed to the Supreme Court saying that as the attorney general he had the right to defend the law, even when other state officials did not wish to do so. 

Susan B. Anthony List expressed their happiness with Cameron’s brief.

“We are proud to stand with Attorney General Cameron as he fights for the right to defend Kentucky’s pro-life laws and values, all the way to the Supreme Court,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List. 

“Time and time again, science reveals the humanity of unborn children – including their capacity to feel pain, with pain receptors beginning to develop at seven and a half weeks. Kentucky lawmakers acted on the will of the people in banning the barbaric live dismemberment of tiny babies at a stage when they already possess fully formed arms, legs, fingers and toes, passing this legislation by overwhelming bipartisan majorities.”

Dannenfelser noted that the efforts to pass pro-life laws is not unique to Kentucky, saying, “Across the nation, momentum to humanize our extreme abortion laws is on the rise, with state legislators enacting 89 new pro-life laws and counting this year alone.”

Nuncio urges US bishops to unity in Christ

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the US, addresses the USCCB's 2020 Fall General Assembly.

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 16, 2021 / 15:19 pm (CNA).

Following the Covid-19 pandemic the Church needs to dialogue with an aim of unity, and emphasize the importance of Christ, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, said to the USCCB’s assembly on Wednesday. 

The assembly is taking place virtually via video conference. 

“I am firmly convinced that emerging from the pandemic, we need to be a Church that proclaims, with conviction, the basic kerygma and the person of Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Pierre said June 16.

“And we need to be a Church that follows the method of Jesus, which is one of accompaniment and dialogue, a dialogue directed toward salvation.”

Archbishop Pierre said there was a need for unity in the Church in America, noting that while this is a challenge, it is one that has been met before in other trying times. 

“In response to the abuse crisis, it answered with a unified and concerted effort that showed care and compassion for the plight of survivors; it provided for the needs of the immigrant community; it stood in solidarity with our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world by providing material and spiritual closeness; it came to the rescue of those affected by natural disasters; it spoke with one voice in defense of the dignity of all peoples and against the scourge of racial inequality,” said Archbishop Pierre. 

“These examples point to the undeniable truth that unity is possible and that the Church in the United States has numerous experiences of it.”

The bishops, he said, have a particularly important role to play in ensuring that this unity is achieved. He noted that the four dimensions of dialogue described by St. John Paul II in the 1995 encyclical Ut unum sint “can be helpful to illumine the path towards greater unity,” even though they were not written with this particular situation in mind. 

Those four dimensions--the dialogue of charity, of conversion, of truth, and of salvation--all play a role in helping to better unite the Christian people. 

Archbishop Pierre highlighted the need for the Church after the pandemic to center its evangelical efforts on the saving work of Christ, pointing out that “Christianity offers more than an NGO or a social service organization.” 

“The Church offers salvation in the person of Jesus Christ,” he said. 

“What is often lacking in the process of evangelization, and we certainly need to evangelize and catechize now more than ever, is ‘beginning again from Jesus Christ,’’’ said Archbishop Pierre. ’

“The starting point, therefore, cannot be to shame the weak, but to propose the One who can strengthen us to overcome our weaknesses, especially through the sacraments of reconciliation and the Eucharist,” he said. 

“With respect to the latter, Holy Communion is not merely a ‘thing’ to be received but Christ Himself, a Person to be encountered.”

Archbishop Pierre stressed the need to center the Church on Christ, saying that “a Catholicism that confuses itself with a mere cultural tradition or which cannot distinguish itself from other proposals, including political or ideological ones that are based on certain values, will never be convincing to this generation or to new ones.”

“Jesus Christ is a Person, not a concept,” he said.

US bishops vote to keep time limits on discussion of Eucharistic document

USCCB fall 2019 meeting, Baltimore, Maryland / Christine Rousselle/CNA

Washington D.C., Jun 16, 2021 / 14:57 pm (CNA).

While some U.S. bishops on Wednesday pushed for no time limits in debating a motion to draft a teaching document on the Eucharist, during their meeting this week, a majority opposed that push, allowing for a vote to proceed under the normal limits of debate. 

As the bishops began their annual spring meeting on Wednesday afternoon – held virtually this year due to the pandemic – they voted in a parliamentary move to approve their meeting agenda. Included in the meeting’s agenda for Thursday is a vote on whether to begin drafting a teaching document on the Eucharist.

Before the vote on the document on Thursday afternoon, there will be a period of debate governed by rules and time limits as part of the conference’s parliamentary procedures. Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski of St. Louis, however, moved to change the agenda to allow for unlimited debate.

At the end of the discussion, 59% of bishops voted against Archbishop Rozanski’s motion. The bishops then voted to approve the meeting agenda, which 86% of those present moved to do.

Rozanski said that due to the virtual nature of the assembly, there should be no time limits on debate among the bishops. “We owe this to our people,” he said. Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark seconded the motion.

The topic of Communion has been a topic of extensive discussion recently, with individual bishops speaking out on worthiness to receive Communion, especially with regard to Catholic politicians who support permissive legislation on grave evils such as abortion and euthanasia.

The prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, wrote to Archbishop Jose Gomez – the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference – on May 7, instructing that if the bishops were to issue any “national policy” on Communion, they would first need “extensive and serene” dialogue among themselves.

Some bishops, citing Ladaria’s call, wrote to Archbishop Gomez in May, asking for a delay in consideration of the Eucharistic document until the bishops can again meet in-person. Gomez, in turn, responded in a May 22 memo to all bishops that the discussion would take place as planned.

Bishops on Wednesday cited Ladaria’s words in calling for no time limits in the discussion on Eucharistic consistency.

Bishop John Stowe of Lexington emphasized the need to “discuss, and take our time” about such a document on the Eucharist. “It seems that some of the brother bishops want to rush this discussion,” he said, advocating the need to “take our time with something that is so important and so delicate.”

Bishop Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City expressed concern about the “yoking of too many important decisions” in one Eucharistic document, without the discussion that needs to take place. 

Every bishop who wants to speak should be given the opportunity, he said. “I do not think that Ladaria’s letter” is about asking conference committees to talk to each other, he said, adding that individual bishops must be able to debate among themselves on the document.

Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe said that the two issues of the “beauty” of the Eucharist and who may receive Communion should be discussed separately.

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago expressed concern about a proposed outline of the document, saying that it is  “very clear, however, that the language within the draft does cause concern.” He called for a “full discussion” without time limits.

Proper discussion among the bishops “has not taken place,” he said, and discussion with Catholic politicians who support policies contrary to Church teaching has not taken place, either.

“And we should also have a discussion with Catholic politicians who have positions that are in conflict with the teachings of the Church to find out why they have those positions. That, too, has not taken place,” he said, arguing for no time limits on the discussion of the proposed Eucharistic document.

In 2019, Cupich told CNA he had ongoing “conversations” with Catholic leaders in the Illinois state legislature who championed an abortion coverage mandate. He told CNA that he thought it would be “counterproductive” to deny Holy Communion in his archdiocese to the legislators who championed the law.

“I have conversations with them, and those continue to take place. They have to,” he said in an interview with CNA on Communion for pro-abortion Catholic politicians, that took place on the side of the bishops’ June 2019 meeting.

Other bishops, however, said that Thursday’s planned vote is merely to begin drafting a document on the Eucharist - not approving any final text of such a document.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas said that a “full discussion” among the bishops “will really best be accomplished when we have a draft of the document” – which could be accomplished by the bishops’ fall meeting in November, if they vote to move ahead with the drafting of it this week.

He called efforts to change debate rules a “delaying tactic” that could hinder the timely manner of approving the document.

Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland in Oregon agreed, saying that in his 15 years in the conference he knew that time limits are necessary for discussion of issues. The full discussion among bishops, “which is certain to be very lively, I’m sure,” can happen when the text of the document is ready, he said.

Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend – chair of the doctrine committee which proposed the document – explained that the document “is broader” than just discussing admission to Communion.

“I think what we plan to do is completely in accord with what Cardinal Ladaria communicated in his letter,” he said. “We are no longer proposing a national policy” on Communion, he said, an idea that “was in the original proposal to the administrative committee, but we never meant it as it’s been interpreted in many media sources.”

The proposed outline of a document on the Eucharist does include a section on “Eucharistic consistency,” or general worthiness to receive Communion. The doctrine committee also noted the particular responsibility of Catholic public officials to uphold Church teaching. However, the entire proposed outline includes many other aspects of the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist, including the real presence of Jesus, the importance of Sunday, and recovering a sense of the Eucharist as a sacrifice.

Archbishop Gomez opens USCCB meeting with passionate call for unity 

Archbishop Gomez addresses his brother bishops after being elected to a three-year term as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops during the USCCB's fall meeting in Baltimore, Nov. 11, 2019 / Christine Rousselle/CNA

Washington D.C., Jun 16, 2021 / 14:20 pm (CNA).

In his opening address at the 2021 spring meeting of the U.S. bishops on Wednesday, conference president Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles made a passionate call for unity.

Archbishop Gomez reminded fellow bishops that “only a Church that is united can heal the brokenness and challenge the injustices that we see more clearly now.” 

“We have been living through some extraordinary times,” the archbishop said. “We’ve seen a pandemic shut down our civilization, including the Church, for more than a year. We’ve lived through riots in our major cities, rising social divisions and unrest, and maybe the most polarized election our country has ever seen.”

He also said that “the Church’s mission will be shaped for years to come by the troubles of these recent months.” 

“I was noticing, even before the pandemic, how often Pope Francis talks about the importance of unity — not only among peoples, but also unity within the Church,” Archbishop Gomez said, as he quoted Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli Tutti in its call for unity among the human family. 

Gomez observed that it is “not realistic to expect the Church to stay immune from the pressures of division. Those pressures are all around us. The Church is divine, she is the Body of Christ. But we are all human in the Church, after all. And we are living in a secular society where politics is becoming the substitute religion for a lot of people.” 

“So, we need to guard against the temptation to think about the Church in simply political terms,” he said. 

He then quoted Pope Francis’ recent homily for Pentecost Sunday: “Today, if we listen to the Spirit, we will not be concerned with conservatives and progressives, traditionalists and innovators, right and left. … The Paraclete impels us to unity … the harmony of diversity. He makes us see ourselves as parts of the same body, brothers and sisters of one another.”

“Unity in the Church,” Archbishop Gomez continued, does not mean conformity of opinion or automatic agreement among bishops. “The apostles argued passionately. They disagreed over pastoral strategies and methods. But never about the truth of the Gospel.” 

“Only a Church that is united can heal the brokenness and challenge the injustices that we see more clearly now in the wake of this pandemic,” he added. 

According to the USCCB president, “the power of our Catholic vision flows from our profound awareness of the unity of life, from conception to natural death, and the unity of the human family, every person a child of God.” 

He acknowledged that “there are forces at work right now in our culture that threaten not only the unity of the human family, but also the very truth about God’s creation and human nature.” He quoted Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, saying, “This is the age of sin against God the Creator.” 

“My brothers,” Gomez stated, “we stand at a historic crossroads, as our Holy Father is telling us. It falls to the Church in this moment to defend the truth about God the Creator, and the truth about the sanctity of the human person and the unity of the human family in God’s plan for creation.”

“My prayer is that we all remain united in what is essential — our love for Jesus and our desire to proclaim him as the living God and the true path for humanity.”

In concluding, referring to his Mexican roots, Archbishop Gomez reminded his fellow bishops that “as you know, I have a deep devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. When I was growing up my family went on pilgrimage to the shrine in Mexico City nearly every summer.”

“And I find myself turning to her a lot during these days,” he continued. “I was reflecting today how the Popes see her apparition as a sign of unity for the continent. St. John Paul II called her shrine ‘the Marian heart of America’.” 

May she help us to keep our hearts humble and united in the service of Jesus, as we seek to continue the evangelization of our country and our continent in this moment.

Archbishop Gomez addressed the spring meeting of the U.S. bishops, which is taking place virtually from June 16-18. The bishops will deliberate and vote on several agenda items, including approving of two causes of canonization, approving a pastoral statement on marriage ministry, and authorizing statements on Native American ministry and the Eucharist in the life of the Church.

The USCCB meeting starts today: 5 items the bishops will consider

A bishop's pectoral cross. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Denver Newsroom, Jun 16, 2021 / 13:12 pm (CNA).

From June 16-18, 2021, the bishops of the United States will gather for their annual spring meeting, held virtually this year, to debate and vote on several action items. Here is an introduction to the five most important items on the agenda.

 1. Plans for a Eucharistic Revival

While the possibility of a document on the Eucharist has grabbed headlines for months, the most significant move of the bishops may be their bold plans for a national Eucharistic Revival. The multi-year plan involves partnership with ministries across the nation and culminates in a national Eucharistic Congress in 2024. Given its impact on the lives of everyday Catholics, this initiative may be the most important action item approved at the meeting.

2. Vote on whether to draft a document on the Eucharist

Likely to garner the most attention is the vote on whether to begin drafting a teaching document on the Eucharist. The discussion about this document has received growing attention since the November election, though the bishops’ interest in questions related to eucharistic coherence and belief in the real presence date back to 2004.

Contrary to reports among activist groups and some media outlets, the vote is not a referendum on whether President Joe Biden, a Catholic whose public positions on abortion, euthanasia, transgenderism, and the death penalty contradict Church teaching, but on the creation of a document to catechize American Catholics.  

An outline of the document obtained by CNA shows that the three-part document will focus on the mystery of the real presence and its reality as a sacrifice that heals; the sacramental celebration of the Eucharist, its beauty and ability to unify and forge an identity among the faithful as a people of God; and the moral and missionary transformation that occurs after partaking in the Eucharist, with a subsection on Eucharistic consistency and the problem of serious sin.

That subsection has overshadowed the bishops’ evangelistic attempt to catechize the faithful on the central mystery of the faith—a mystery that Pew Research shows more than 2/3 of Catholics do not believe.

 3. Vote to advance the cause of two servants of God

The vote to advance the cause of canonization for a diocesan priest named Joseph Verbis Lafluer and Benedictine Brother Marinus LaRue may give greater recognition of two heroically virtuous men to the Church. Both men have military backgrounds and incredible stories.

Father Lafluer, a Louisiana native, was a military chaplain and prisoner of war who died sacrificing his life to help others out of the hull of a Japanese warship he and hundreds of other POWS were trapped in. When American forces unknowingly torpedoed the ship carrying their compatriots, Lafluer stayed behind to help his fellow men out of the hull. Prior to his death, he spent 2 ½ years under starving conditions in a camp in the Philippines where his generosity with rations and charity in such extreme conditions moved around 200 men to convert to Catholicism, including men who did nothing other than see his example.

Leonard LaRue, a Merchant Marine captain, was responsible for the execution of a courageous rescue operation during the Korean War. After traveling to Korea on a weapons transport ship whose capacity held 50-60 men, he saw thousands of Koreans on the shore attempting to flee communist powers. Grasping the eternal significance of the people before him, LaRue gave orders that nearly all weapons and cargo be dispatched and filled his ship with some 14,005 refugees. After winning accolades for his heroic and decisive action, LaRue decided to dedicate his life to God as a religious, joining the Benedictines as Brother Marinus and living the rest of his life in humility, obscurity, and penance.

 4. Votes on evangelization efforts for various groups and updates on cultural diversity

A vote to approve a “National Pastoral Framework for Marriage and Family Life Ministry in the United States: Called to the Joy of Love;” a vote to develop a formal statement and comprehensive vision on Native American/Alaska Native ministry; and a vote to create a national pastoral framework on youth and young adults are action items at the spring meeting.

Friday afternoon will also see presentations on the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) study on pastoral care for migrants, refugees and travelers as well as an overview of the June 1-2, 2021 meeting on immigration matters held at Mundelein Seminary.

5. Approval of New Liturgical Texts

While the full new translation of the Breviary will most likely not be completed until 2024, the bishops will be voting on translations and insertions that will impact the prayers of Liturgy of the Hours. They will also be voting on a new book for the Order of Penance, and formally ratifying readings and prayers for the newly instituted feast of Mary, Mother of the Church.

The bishops conference meeting will begin with public remarks from the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, as well as a presidential address by Archbishop José Gomez, current USCCB president. The public sessions of the meetings will be livestreamed on the USCCB website.

Cardinal: Religious freedom will be Europe’s ‘great problem of the future’

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, S.J., pictured at the Vatican on Oct. 10, 2018 (before he was named a cardinal). / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

Vatican City, Jun 16, 2021 / 13:00 pm (CNA).

‘We must be on guard,’ said Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich.

Kendrick Castillo’s killer convicted of murder

Kendrick Castillo and his father, John Castillo / Courtesy: Knights of Columbus #4844 via Facebook

Washington D.C., Jun 16, 2021 / 11:30 am (CNA).

The man who shot and killed Kendrick Castillo was convicted of murder in Colorado's Douglas County District Court on Tuesday, and could face life in prison without parole. 

Castillo was an 18 year-old Catholic who died on May 7, 2019 while trying to disarm a shooter at STEM School Highlands Ranch in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado. He was the only person killed in the attack at the school; eight others were injured.

Devon Erickson, 20 years old and one of the two school shooters, was convicted of more than 40 charges - including three counts of first-degree murder - on Tuesday, June 15. He was also charged with 31 counts of attempted murder, as well as arson, theft, criminal mischief, burglary, reckless endangerment, and possessing a weapon on school grounds. 

The jury deliberated for four and a half hours before returning a guilty verdict. According to Courthouse News, Erickson faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole. He will be formally sentenced on September 17.

The other shooter at the Highlands Ranch attack, Alec McKinney, pleaded guilty in February 2020 and was sentenced to life in prison. McKinney was 16 years old at the time of the shooting, and could be eligible for parole in approximately 20 years. 

McKinney was born female and was undergoing gender-transitioning procedures at the time of the shooting. According to court documents reported by, McKinney “wanted the kids at the school to experience bad things, have to suffer from trauma like he has had to in his life.”

Lawyers for Erickson claimed that their client was manipulated by McKinney, who they said organized and filmed the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch. The two students, who attended the school, entered the building on May 7, 2019, carrying guns in guitar cases. They opened fire in two locations. 

According to McKinney, the original plan was to kill everyone in the classroom. After doing this, Erickson would then kill McKinney, and say that McKinney was responsible for all the other deaths. 

Castillo, who was the only person killed in the attack, tackled Erickson after he pulled out a gun in his classroom. Erickson shot Castillo in the chest, killing him. Castillo’s other classmates managed to subdue Erickson before he could shoot anyone else. 

Kendrick’s father, John Castillo, said that the verdict was “justice” for his son, and that he was “sure Kendrick was looking down on us today.” 

“I never thought I’d be fighting for justice for a crime that should never have happened,” said John Castillo. 

John Castillo is a member of his local Knights of Columbus council. After Kendrick’s death, the Knights of Columbus honored him with the Caritas Medal at the 137th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus in August 2019. The convention also unanimously granted him full membership in the organization, posthumously.

The Caritas Medal is the second-highest award in the Knights of Columbus, and is given to those “who most profoundly embrace our order’s principles of charity in their service and their sacrifice for others.”

Liturgical translations: What the U.S. bishops will be voting on this week

Archbishop Leonard Paul Blair of Hartford, chair of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Washington D.C., Jun 16, 2021 / 10:30 am (CNA).

This week, the U.S. bishops will vote on proposed translations for prayers in the Liturgy of the Hours, a new book for the Order of Penance, and readings and prayers for the new feast of Mary, Mother of the Church.

“The fact that the bishops have these action items is a sign that we’re trying to continue to move forward, and continue to encourage a good celebration of the sacred liturgy,” said Fr. Andrew Menke, executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Divine Worship, in an interview with CNA on Tuesday.

“Sometimes it’s not as glamorous as certain things,” he said of the ongoing process of updating liturgical texts in the vernacular, “but it’s part of the Church’s prayer, and the bishops have the desire to continue to improve that and continue to encourage people to understand it better and participate better, and to make it part of their lives and their spiritual lives.”

At their annual spring general assembly this week, the U.S. bishops will meet virtually, deliberating and voting on various action items including approving liturgical translations, approving of two causes of canonization, and approving a pastoral statement on marriage ministry. The bishops will also vote to authorize the drafting of a statement on Native American ministry and a teaching document on the Eucharist, and to authorize the development of a pastoral framework for youth and young adult ministry.

Regarding liturgical texts, the bishops will vote on three action items: readings and prayers for a Mass honoring Mary, Mother of the Church, intercessions and concluding prayers for the breviary, and an updated translation for the Order of Penance.

Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford, chair of the U.S. bishops’ committee on divine worship, will present the proposed changes on Wednesday, and the bishops will vote to approve the texts on Thursday.

Pope St. Paul VI proclaimed Mary “Mother of the Church” during the Second Vatican Council. In 2018, Pope Francis announced that the Church would celebrate the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church on the first Monday after Pentecost. The new texts for the feast could potentially be available online next year, following approval.

The breviary translations that the bishops will consider this week feature updated prayers and intercessions. They are part of a much larger process of translating liturgical texts, one which has been ongoing for 10 years and which could result in a new breviary by the year 2024.

When the breviary was translated into the vernacular following the Second Vatican Council, “those translations were done fairly quickly,” and the translators were given “flexibility,” Fr. Menke explained. “And that means that you find a lot of paraphrases, or somewhat loose translations.”

“There’s been a sentiment for many years that the translations that were made right after the [Second Vatican] Council needed to be revisited, and there has been a lot of discussion about the nature of those translations, whether they should be more literal or a more dynamic equivalency,” Archbishop Blair stated.

Following the year 2000, the Holy See, in the instruction Liturgiam Authenticam and the motu proprio Magnum Principium, “instructed the bishops’ conferences of the world that their liturgical translations needed to be more precise and follow the Latin more closely,” Fr. Menke said.

The long translation process in the United States “has been a very successful effort. And we’re nearing the end of it with all the translations, especially as we bring the Divine Office to a conclusion,” Archbishop Blair said.  

The bishops this week will also consider a revised translation for the Order of Penance.

“Sometimes priests are surprised that there’s a liturgical book for penance,” Fr. Menke said.

“The book is mostly useful when a parish wants to have a penance service,” he explained, such as hosting advertised evenings of confession during the penitential seasons of Advent or Lent. Such a parish ceremony could feature readings that are provided in the book, along with a short homily and announcements to penitents, he said.

The book also includes a chapter on the need for general absolution – “which ought to be quite rare, I would think,” Fr. Menke said.

A slight adjustment will be made to the prayer of absolution for every confession, but it will be a “change of just a word or two,” Archbishop Blair said.

Pope Francis appoints ‘ecclesiastical assistant’ for Vatican communications

St. Peter's Basilica. Bohumil Petrik/CNA

Vatican City, Jun 16, 2021 / 09:00 am (CNA).

Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco, 40, is the author of more than 20 books.

Pope Francis: On the cross, Jesus prayed for you

Pope Francis’ general audience in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, June 16, 2021. / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, Jun 16, 2021 / 05:15 am (CNA).

The general audience marked the pope’s final catechesis on prayer.