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Posted on 07/15/2019 19:49 PM (EWTN News - Vatican News)
Vatican City, Jul 15, 2019 / 11:49 am (CNA).- The prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development urged prayers Sunday for seafarers, fishermen, and maritime workers, by whose work some 90% of the world's goods are transported.
“Though we do not realize it, the work of seafarers is essential for our daily lives,” Cardinal Peter Turkson wrote in a message for “Sea Sunday,” July 14.
This is because “most of the possessions that we have in our houses, the television, the fridge, the washing machine, computer and phone, not to mention the fuel for our cars, the clothes we wear, and many other items are all made in distant parts of the world and brought to us by seafarers,” he said.
In his message, Turkson underlined the need to consider and reflect upon the importance seafarers and fishermen have on the comfort and well-being of others.
“The faithful are requested to remember and pray for the 1.5 million seafarers who criss-cross the oceans and the seas, transporting almost 90% of goods from one nation to another,” the cardinal said.
He noted that hazards faced by seafarers can include depression brought on by isolation and living in confined spaces, a delayed salary, exploitation, tough working conditions, threat of piracy or terrorist attack, and lack of proper rest.
Turkson acknowledged that with the ratification and implementation of some international legislation conditions aboard many vessels have improved, though he underlined that in some parts of the world, there are still “unscrupulous ship owners” who take advantage of a lack of law enforcement.
“In the faces of seafarers from different nations, I invite you to recognize the face of Christ in
your midst,” the cardinal said. “In the confusion of languages, I recommend you to speak the language of Christian love that welcomes everyone and excludes no one.”
In his message, Turkson praised the work of Apostleship of the Sea, or Stella Maris, a Catholic organization which provides pastoral care for seafarers and their families.
The organization will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2020, and will hold its world congress in Glasgow Sept. 29-Oct. 4 of that year. Glasgow was the location of the first meeting of Apostleship of the Sea in 1920, when they discussed a revival of ship-visiting in riverside parishes. The group’s constitution was approved by Pius XI in 1922.
Turkson said: “I would like to encourage the chaplains and volunteers of Stella Maris/Apostleship of the Sea during their daily ship visits to be vigilant and approach each seafarer and fisher with the same committed spirit that animated the pioneers of our ministry.”
The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development released a prayer for the occasion of “Sea Sunday.”
Posted on 07/15/2019 18:32 PM (EWTN News - US Catholic News)
San Francisco, Calif., Jul 15, 2019 / 10:32 am (CNA).- Bishop Robert Christian, O.P., an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and rector of St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, died in his sleep Thursday at his residence at the seminary.
“I was deeply saddened to learn this morning of his passing. The Archdiocese was greatly blessed to have his wisdom and leadership even if for so brief a time as auxiliary bishop and even briefer time as rector of the Seminary,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said July 11.
“We join with the Dominican community in praying for the repose of his soul and for peace and comfort for his wonderful family in their time of mourning.”
Born in San Francisco in 1948, Christian he graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in literature in 1970.
He entered the Dominican novitiate in Oakland the same year, studying at Saint Albert College and the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology.
He made his solemn vows in 1974 and began attending courses at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas in Rome. He was ordained a Dominican priest in 1976, and began his teaching career at Dominican College in San Rafael.
After later receiving his doctorate in theology from the Angelicum, Christian began what would be a long teaching career at the university, lasting from 1985-1997.
In California, he served as vicar and administrator of the Western Dominican Province, university professor at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and as a member of the Clergy Education Board for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
Christian then held the role of deputy dean of the Angelicum from 1999-2014. After a sabbatical, he became master of students for the Western Dominican Province at St. Albert Priory in 2015.
He was a peritus at the Synod of Bishops on Priestly Formation in 1990, and was a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission.
Christian was appointed an auxiliary bishop of the San Francisco archdiocese in 2018, and was consecrated June 5 of that year.
He was appointed rector of St. Patrick's Seminary Jan. 14.
A visitation and vigil will be held for Christian July 22 at St. Dominic parish in San Francisco, and his funeral Mass will be said the following day at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption.
His body will be buried at St. Dominic Cemetery in Benicia, about 60 miles southwest of Sacramento, July 24.
The Western Dominican Province said that “Bishop Christian has tirelessly served the Church and faithful for nearly 50 years. We are deeply saddened to hear of his death and entrust his soul to the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. We ask for your prayers for the repose of his soul, as well as for his grieving family, friends and Dominican brothers around the world.”
Posted on 07/15/2019 11:01 AM (EWTN News - US Catholic News)
Washington D.C., Jul 15, 2019 / 03:01 am (CNA).- It is an overcast day with threatening rain clouds overhead, but the mood in the basement of Holy Name of Jesus Church in Northeast Washington is downright sunny. Here, a group of Catholic teens are hard at work helping to prepare the “Holy Foods Market” food pantry for one of its monthly openings, and then later in the day they would make and distribute bagged lunches to some of DC’s homeless population.
The teens, under the supervision of adult volunteers, were participating in Encounter the Gospel of Life’s Service Camp, a weeklong program that place groups of teenagers with nonprofits in the Washington, D.C. area, where they serve during the day. At night, there are keynote speeches, concerts, prayers, and community building.
The Holy Foods Pantry was one of the nonprofit work sites, and a group of mostly high schoolers was stationed there for the week. CNA spoke to some of the participants to learn more about what would entice a teenager to give up a week of their summer vacation to serve on the streets of DC.
Frances Noory is a 15-year-old sophomore at a Catholic high school in northern Virginia. She told CNA that she “just really loves helping people,” and that she believes her service with Encounter is “God’s work and what He wants us to do.”
At Holy Foods Pantry, Noory said she had been working to organize the pantry, and assist clients with the “shopping” process.
“And then, we also make lunches and go out on to the streets--we hand them out to people who are in need, and we pray with them and talk with them and just give them support,” she said.
As a young, faithful Catholic, she said that living her faith “can be difficult sometimes,” but experiences like Encounter are “very encouraging and exciting.”
With programs like this, Catholic teens are given the opportunity to meet and fellowship with each other. Encounter participants are mainly from the Washington area, but the camp is open to groups from around the country.
Ryanne Thereault, 16, agreed with Noory. This is Thereault’s second time doing Encounter, but her first at the Holy Foods Pantry site. She told CNA that she loved “the atmosphere that the camp creates,” and that “everyone is just there for each other, and we all have a great time serving.”
Thereault also appreciated the opportunity to serve the less fortunate.
“I loved interacting with people on the streets,” said Thereault. “They all have really good hearts, and they were so happy to see us. They were really thankful for us.”
Many of the people CNA spoke to had been to Encounter in the past. For Matt Lawry, a 17-year-old who attends Archbishop Curley High School, this was his third summer, but his first working with the homeless. In previous summers, his service sites were primarily working with children.
“This site is more eye-opening, ‘cause you go out and interact with the homeless. It’s a completely different experience,” he said. In particular, he was struck by his encounter with a man named Orlando.
“He was in jail for like, 25 years,” said Lawry. “He was just telling us about how he did like every drug in the book, and that he promised his parents he would make it out, and he’d keep doing good things.”
Overall, Lawry said that he had enjoyed his time serving on the streets, and that “working with the homeless is like working to get closer to God.”
Young adults who have graduated from high school are also able to participate in Encounter’s service camp. Unlike the youth participants, young adults are able to pick their service site. Christine Johnson, an 18-year-old who attends the University of Maryland, chose Holy Foods Pantry.
This is Johnson’s fourth time doing Encounter. "It's been probably the best four weeks of my life, every year. I've just met so many amazing people," she said. Holy Foods was her favorite site “by far,” even though she had no idea what to expect when she first arrived.
She said she’s watched her group mates mature over the week, and they were able to overcome their initial apprehension about talking to homeless people.
Inner-city DC is very different from where Johnson grew up, and she said she has very much grown from her week serving on the streets.
"Despite the fact that we're bringing them lunches and we're talking to them, every time I interact with someone I just feel like I've gotten so much more from them than I'm able to give them,” she said.
Johnson told CNA that she has encountered Christ through her service work.
"We do this thing at the end of the day where we go around in a circle and we all say our 'God sighting' for the day,” she said. “I feel like I have so many every day from this site, just because every person I meet says something and I am like, 'That was Jesus speaking through you.'"
Encounter has given Johnson much hope for the future of the Church in the United States, and it makes her happy to see hundreds of young people gathered together to serve the Lord.
"When someone is up on stage playing music, and everyone in the crowd is like swaying together and screaming the words together--you can see in their faces they know what it means, and they're so happy to be here,” she said.
“It's the future of the Church, and it looks pretty bright to me."
Posted on 07/15/2019 00:08 AM (EWTN News - US Catholic News)
Rome, Italy, Jul 14, 2019 / 04:08 pm (CNA).- On an island in Rome’s Tiber River, there is a basilica devoted to the Christian martyrs of the 20th century, the bloodiest century in the history of the Catholic Church.
Flanked on either side by relics of Christians martyred under Communism and Nazism respectively, the main altar of the Basilica of St. Bartholomew on Tiber Island connects the tradition of Rome’s apostolic martyrs to the persecution of Christians today.
The church was first commissioned in 998 by German Emperor Otto III to receive the remains of St. Bartholomew, who was flayed alive for his faith, and St. Adalbert, bishop of Prague who was martyred in 997 during the evangelization of Poland.
Today the basilica houses relics of the apostle and medieval evangelist alongside those of St. Maximilian Kolbe, martyred in Auschwitz, and Sr. Leonella Sgorbati, a missionary nurse in Somalia in the height of the country’s civil war. Her last words as she was murdered in 2006 were: “I forgive them, I forgive, I forgive.”
Father Angelo Romano, rector of St. Bartholomew on Tiber Island, told CNA that the basilica has received more than 120 relics from the persecuted Christian communities of modern martyrs from around the world. Many of the objects are second-class relics, which are items, or fractions of an item, that a saint personally owned.
The basilica is currently working on a crypt museum to display the entire collection because the basilica’s side chapels, which preserve the memory of recent martyrs from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe, cannot fit them all.
“The stories of the martyrs are attractive. People want to know about them because they are very close to Jesus, and when you are close to Jesus, people love you,” Fr. Romano said.
“These people, they forgave their own persecutors, like Jesus on the cross. This is the strength of love,” he said.
As a priest, Fr. Romano said that he is challenged daily by the memory of the martyrs preserved in the basilica. “The martyrs are questioning us as to the level of our coherence, the level of our commitment, the level of our spirituality,” he said.
“It is quite a challenge because first of all I knew one of them personally,” he explained. Romano was friends with Blessed Giuseppe Puglisi, a parish priest in Palermo, who was murdered for speaking out against the mafia in 1993. His beatification “was a turning point in Sicily, for the whole society,” Romano said.
Recently, the basilica acquired the breviary of Fr. Jacques Hamel, who was killed in 2016 by ISIS terrorists in France while celebrating Mass.
“It is a story which continues,” Romano said.
On July 15, the basilica will host the launch of an independent review into the global persecution of Christians by the UK government, hosted by the UK Embassy to the Holy See.
At the event, Iraqi Cardinal Louis Sako of the Chaldean Catholic Church and representatives from Pakistan and Nigeria will speak of the persecution their communities have endured in recent years.
“As John Paul II said, freedom of religion is the basic freedom. Without it, there is no freedom at all. If you deny freedom of religion, you deny all the other freedoms,” Fr. Romano said.
The story of the basilica’s dedication to the “new martyrs” began with St. John Paul II, Romano explained.
“John Paul II was a friend of many martyrs ... he lived through the persecution of the Second World War by the Nazi regime and then the Communist persecution,” he said.
In 1998, Pope John Paul II established the Commission for the New Martyrs of the Great Jubilee, giving them the task “not only to document Catholic martyrs, but also protestant and Orthodox, saying in the blood of the martyrs, the Church is already united. There was this vision of the ecumenicism of the blood.”
The Basilica of St. Bartholomew on Tiber Island continues the ecumenical focus today by honoring the Anglican martyrs of Solomon Island, a brotherhood working for reconciliation among the ethnic groups who were killed in 1992-93, and Russian Orthodox Father Alexander Men, who was assassinated in Moscow in 1990.
There is a large icon on the altar of the “New Martyrs and Witnesses to the Faith of the 20th and 21st centuries,” which was blessed by both an Orthodox patriarch and the cardinal vicar of Rome.
Pope Francis also gave the basilica a little wooden bird from the Orthodox Church of the Holy Mother of God in Syria, a church that burned during the bombing of Aleppo in the Syrian civil war. The bird was brought back to Rome with the humanitarian corridors of the Catholic Community of St. Egidio, a lay movement dedicated to works of charity, who have been entrusted with the spiritual care of the basilica of St. Bartholomew.
“When Christians are truly leaven, light, and salt to the earth, they are, like Jesus, subject to persecution; like Him they are ‘signs of contradiction,’” Pope Benedict XVI said on his visit to the basilica in 2006.
Posted on 07/14/2019 13:36 PM (EWTN News - Vatican News)
Vatican City, Jul 14, 2019 / 05:36 am (CNA).- Helping a person in need requires compassion toward their situation, Pope Francis said Sunday, encouraging Catholics to think first about their own hardness of heart, not the sins of others.
“If you go down the street and see a homeless man lying there and you pass by without looking at him, or you think: ‘Eh, the effect of wine. He’s a drunk,’ do not ask yourself if that man is drunk, ask yourself if your heart has hardened, if your heart has become ice,” the pope said July 14.
The true “face of love,” he continued, is “mercy towards a human life in need. This is how one becomes a true disciple of Jesus.”
In his Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the parable of the Good Samaritan, which he called “one of the most beautiful parables of the Gospel.”
“This parable has become paradigmatic of the Christian life. It has become the model of how a Christian must act,” he said.
According to Pope Francis, the parable shows that having compassion is key. “If you do not feel pity before a needy person, if your heart is not moved, then something is wrong,” he warned. “Be careful.”
Quoting the Gospel of Luke, Francis said: “‘Be merciful, as your Father is merciful.’ God, our Father, is merciful, because he has compassion; he is capable of having this compassion, of approaching our pain, our sin, our vices, our miseries.”
The pope noted a detail of the parable of the Good Samaritan, which is that the Samaritan was considered an unbeliever. Jesus uses a man of no faith as a model, he said, because this man, in “loving his brother as himself, shows that he loves God with all his heart and with all his strength – the God he did not know!”
“May the Virgin Mary,” Francis prayed, “help us to understand and above all to live more and more the unbreakable bond that exists between love for God our Father and concrete and generous love for our brothers, and give us the grace to have compassion and grow in compassion.”
After the Angelus, the pope reiterated his desire to be close to the Venezuelan people, who he said are facing trials in the continued crisis in the country.
“We pray the Lord will inspire and enlighten the parties involved, so that they can, as soon as possible, reach an agreement that puts an end to the suffering of the people for the good of the country and the entire region,” he said.
Posted on 07/14/2019 12:35 PM (EWTN News - Vatican News)
Vatican City, Jul 14, 2019 / 04:35 am (CNA).- Cardinal Paolo Sardi, who served under five popes, died Saturday at Gemelli Hospital in Rome after a short illness.
The 84-year-old Piemontese cardinal had been retired from his work in the Secretariat of State, where he coordinated the office which edits papal speeches and texts.
He most recently had served as pro-patron and then patron of the Sovreign Military Order of the Knights of Malta, a position he held from June 2009 to November 2014.
In a letter of condolence to members of Sardi's family July 14, Pope Francis praised the cardinal's "priestly spirit, his theological preparation, his gifts of intelligence and wisdom... through which he has given a valuable contribution to the magisteriums of St. Paul VI, John Paul I, St. John Paul II, and Benedict XVI."
Thanking God for Sardi's witness in his service to the Holy See, Francis said he joins his prayers to those of the many Catholics who would join the cardinal at his daily Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, often said at the altar of St. Pope John XXIII.
"Faithful to his episcopal motto, 'Esto Vigilans,' he has been good and vigilant, therefore we hope that, accompanied by the Virgin Mary, the saints Peter and Paul, and the Holy Bishop Guido of Acqui, he will be welcomed into the eternal reward of heaven," the pope prayed.
In 2012, Sardi was accused alongside two others, in an article in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, of being complicit in the leaking of sensitive papal information to the media, in the event now referred to as "Vatileaks."
At the time of the article's publication, the Vatican denied the claims, releasing a statement from the Secretariat of State expressing "firm and total disapproval of those publications, which are not based on objective criteria and seriously damage the honor of the people concerned, who have served the Holy Father faithfully for many years."
Then-papal spokesperson Fr. Federico Lombardi confirmed Sardi and the others were called to testify before a commission, but emphasized that it in no way indicated suspicion of "shared responsibility or 'complicity.'"
Sardi, who was born in the northern Italian town of Ricaldone in 1934, used to say that above all, his parents, who raised him to have a deep faith, taught him "humility and honesty." He also had the example of several priests in his extended family.
Sardi studied at a local seminary and in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he received a license in theology. He was ordained a priest in 1958.
Sardi returned to Rome to study canon law, finishing a degree in 1963. He then taught moral theology at a seminary in the diocese of Acqui while serving at various parishes.
He later attended the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan for a degree in jurisprudence, continuing to teach moral theology at a seminary in Turin.
During this time he wrote a book on the history of the Church's teaching on abortion.
In 1976, Sardi was asked to come to the Vatican to work in the Secretariat of State in the section for general affairs. He was made head of an office in 1990 and in 1992 became vice assessor, coordinating the office which collaborates in the editing of the pope's speeches and texts.
He was ordained a bishop by St. Pope John Paul II in 1997, who said in his homily: "I pray for you, Mons. Sardi, that, named apostolic nuncio with special assignments, you will continue to yet work beside me in the Secretariat of State. I congratulate you for the service performed until now, I wish you to continue in the same way, with the same zeal."
From October 2004 to January 2011 Sardi served as Vice-Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church.
He was made a cardinal by Benedict XVI in a November 2010 consistory.
Posted on 07/14/2019 11:26 AM (EWTN News - US Catholic News)
New York City, N.Y., Jul 14, 2019 / 03:26 am (CNA).- Poor women are the most likely population to obtain an abortion.
While it may seem logical that a woman who is already struggling financially is one of the most likely candidates for an abortion, the trend is relatively recent, reports the New York Times.
According to a July 9 article, data from the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research organization, shows that 50% of women who obtained an abortion in 2014 were considered low-income, compared to 1994, when only one-fourth of women who got an abortion that year were living in poverty.
The reasons for this are many, according to the New York Times. More people overall live at or below the poverty line now than did 25 years ago. There are many financial resources available for poor women who are seeking abortions, and hotlines to help them access these resources.
The article ended with the story of a poor woman who, finding herself unexpectedly pregnant, decided to get an abortion in order to get through college.
But there are also abundant resources available for poor, pregnant women who want to carry their pregnancies to term and parent their children, and they should be included in stories such as these, pro-life advocates told CNA.
“The New York Times is so disingenuous to pretend that there are no services for women, no help for women, no hope for women, and basically their message is - you might as well have an abortion,” Kristi Hamrick, a spokesperson for Students for Life of America (SFLA), told CNA.
“It’s a defeatist message and it’s an anti-feminist message, because we should be about empowering women. We should be about protecting their rights against pregnancy discrimination. We should be about making sure that if you want an education, you can get one,” she added. “So I find it fascinating that these so-called champions of women aren’t willing to champion pregnant women.”
SFLA is a pro-life group that works specifically with pregnant and parenting students on campus to ensure that their rights are protected and that they have access to the resources they need.
“It’s really part of the work we’re doing every day, letting women know that there is help for them, there is support for them, and that defeatist messages from the abortion industry - that’s a marketing pitch, but that’s not the truth,” Hamrick said.
One of the main things that SFLA’s “Pregnant on Campus” initiative does is work with schools to ensure that the rights of pregnant women are protected, and that the campus is creating a welcoming environment for them.
For example, Hamrick said, SFLA works with students to ensure that their Title IX protections aren’t violated. Title IX protects pregnant students from being discriminated against based on accommodations needed for their pregnancies, making it illegal to take away scholarships, housing or placement in schools for pregnant students.
Hamrick recalled one case in which a pregnant woman missed finals because she was giving birth, and her school threatened to pull her financial aid and her place at the school.
“So SFLA got involved, we got her financial package reinstated, and frankly communicated with the school that you can’t do that. That is discrimination against women,” she said. The student was allowed to continue at the school, and her financial aid was reinstated.
Besides working to fight pregnancy discrimination, the group also works with schools to create welcoming environments for pregnant and parenting students by adding things such as short-term handicapped parking, nursing stations, and access to daycare programs on campuses.
Hamrick sent CNA an internal document used by SFLA of a list of more than 20 resources available to pregnant women in need, which includes resources such as counseling, food stamps, shelter, church groups, abortion pill reversals, adoption programs and more.
When it comes to scholarships, Hamrick said they work locally with women to determine what they are eligible for in their region and from their school. The website scholarshipsforwomen.com also lists more than 19 scholarships and grants available to pregnant women of various qualifications.
Marisol Health, a service of Catholic Charities in Denver, is another pro-life service that exists to help pregnant women in need.
In 2017, Marisol Health provided care to 821 clients, 70% of whom had incomes under $30,000; 45% had no income or incomes less than $15,000 a year. Of patients that year, 45 percent had Medicaid and 32 percent were uninsured.
“You are unique, capable and strong. You deserve to be listened to and cared for in a way that's confidential and empowering,” Marisol’s website states on its homepage.
Senite Sahlezghi, the program director of Marisol Health in Lafayette, Colorado, told CNA that they seek to serve the whole person in their services.
“The whole person... is not only a physical body, but we all have a multilayered context to our lives as well and so I think it's just been really beautiful that Marisol Health is this comprehensive OB/GYN clinic with wraparound supportive services to meet the urgent and ongoing needs of women and families,” Sahlezghi said.
Sahlezghi said the first thing Marisol does when a woman in need seeks their help is to listen to them fully.
“A lot of our families and women that come to us are in crisis situations,” she said, “which means that they're coming through our doors with a lot of circumstances that are overwhelming to them.”
The first step is to welcome these women and families in, offer them a cup of tea or a glass of water, and listen to their story and how they are doing, in order to better understand what help they most need, Sahlezghi said.
Through a partnership with Bella Natural Women’s Care, Marisol is able to offer women free pregnancy testing, free ultrasounds, STD testing and treatment, counseling, fertility awareness education, and other OB/GYN services.
But beyond services, they also provide women with accompaniment throughout their pregnancy and afterward, Sahlezghi said.
“When you're in an unexpected pregnancy or crisis situation, it is unbelievable how profound the feeling of loneliness can be and what decisions and consequences come from it,” she said. “Our main goal is to really be their village and to let them know that they're not alone.”
Besides OB/GYN services, Marisol Health is able to connect women with a variety of services, including housing, food and financial assistance through Catholic Charities. Marisol Homes provides housing for both pregnant women and homeless women with children. Through a partnership with Gabriel services, Marisol also connects women with parenting classes, education classes and other support.
Marisol also offers support groups for postpartum women, mentoring programs for fathers, and counseling and support for post-abortive women. They provide these services to women in need without discrimination, including to women who are undocumented and may have difficulty finding care elsewhere, Sahlezghi added.
“That doesn't even begin to describe the scope of the continuum of care that Catholic Charities offers,” Sahlezghi added. “Mother Theresa said, ‘Find them, love them,’ and I think that the continuum of care really allows us to try and strive after that idiom well.”
Although it has only been open for three years, Marisol Health has already helped more than 1,330 women through unexpected pregnancies.
“We want to make sure that women know that this is available to them and that their life isn't over because they're pregnant,” Sahlezghi said.
Posted on 07/13/2019 16:37 PM (EWTN News - Vatican News)
Vatican City, Jul 13, 2019 / 08:37 am (CNA).- The Vatican has found two ossuaries believed to maybe belong to the German noblewomen whose tombs were found empty earlier this week.
According to Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti, the ossuaries will be opened for testing July 20, in order to determine if they belong to Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe and Duchess Charlotte Frederica, who both died in the 19th century.
The women's tombs and monuments, located in the Teutonic cemetery on Vatican extra-territorial property adjacent to Vatican City State, were opened July 11 in an attempt to find a clue to the 1983 disappearance of an Italian teen, Emanuela Orlandi.
That the tombs were found empty of any human remains, including the women supposedly buried there, was considered an unseen twist in the mystery of the missing Orlandi.
Gisotti said July 13 documents had been found confirming that in the 1960s and 1970s an extensive renovation of the Teutonic College and the cemetery was carried out.
Staff examined the rooms of the college adjacent to the empty tombs, finding two ossuaries placed under the pavement via hatches in the floor.
"These were immediately sealed for subsequent examination and detection of the bone materials lying therein," Gisotti stated. The ossuaries are scheduled to be opened on the morning of July 20, in the presence of scientific experts.
Emanuela Orlandi was the daughter of an envoy of the Prefecture of the Pontifical House and a citizen of Vatican City State. Her disappearance at age 15 has been one of Italy's biggest unsolved mysteries and the subject of international intrigue, including suspicion about the Vatican’s role, since it occurred.
Posted on 07/13/2019 14:01 PM (EWTN News - US Catholic News)
Hartford, Conn., Jul 13, 2019 / 06:01 am (CNA).- The bishops of Connecticut have joined a number of bishops’ voices in calling for “a complete overhaul of existing immigration policies” in the face of escalating tensions at the southern border of the United States.
In a July 10 letter released through the Connecticut Cathoic Conference, the bishops expressed their concern over the border crisis, citing the June 23 deaths of Óscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez, 25, and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria, who drowned as they tried to cross the Rio Grande from Matamoros.
Martinez and his daughter, as well as his wife, Tania Vanessa Ávalos, intended to apply for asylum in the US, but the international bridge from Matamoros was closed until June 24, so they chose to swim across the Rio Grande.
The bishops said Martinez and his daughter “were fleeing the dangers of El Salvador for the safety of the United States.”
According to the New York Times, the family had left their home in El Salvador for economic reasons, and not to escape gang violence.
“Other immigrants,” the bishops commented, “have crossed the border with their lives, but have been captured and are now detained in overcrowded conditions as a result of political gridlock in our nation’s capital.”
“Those responsible in government need to undertake an examination of conscience as to what they have done and failed to do when it comes to respect for human persons and the enactment of fair and balanced legislation.”
The bishops noted that an average of 357 migrants have died annually on the southern border in the last 20 years, according to the U.S. border patrol.
“The governments of other nations also need to be encouraged and aided where necessary to remedy the conditions that force people to flee their homeland,” they said.
“We urge everyone to work and pray for a better way forward in addressing this humanitarian crisis,” the bishops concluded.
The letter was signed by Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford, and his auxiliary, Bishop Juan Miguel Betancourt; Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport; Bishop Michael Cote of Norwich; and Bishop Paul Chomnycky of the Ukrainian Eparchy of Stamford.
Pope Francis expressed his "immense sadness" June 26 upon seeing the image of the drowned migrants. He has spoken frequently about the need to respect the human dignity of migrants.
“They are persons; these are not mere social or migrant issues!” he said July 8. “‘This is not just about migrants,’ in the twofold sense that migrants are first of all human persons, and that they are the symbol of all those rejected by today’s globalized society.”
Leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops echoed the pope’s grief and said the image of the drowned father and daughter demand action.
“This image cries to heaven for justice. This image silences politics. Who can look on this picture and not see the results of the failures of all of us to find a humane and just solution to the immigration crisis?” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin.
The number of migrants journeying to the U.S.-Mexico border climbed sharply in recent months. A July 2 report by the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security found that the number of apprehensions in the Rio Grande Valley Sector alone rose by 124 % in the 2019 fiscal year against the same eight-month period the previous year.
The IG report warned of “dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults in the Rio Grande Valley” and urged DHS to “take immediate steps” to address the problem.
Witnesses testified before Congress this week, speaking of crowded conditions for children and adults in several Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities in Texas.
Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso stated June 27 before he crossed the border into the U.S. from Mexico over the Lerdo International Bridge: “A government and society which view fleeing children and families as threats; a government which treats children in U.S. custody worse than animals; a government and society who turn their backs on pregnant mothers, babies and families and make them wait in Ciudad Juarez without a thought to the crushing consequences on this challenged city.”
Apprehensions of migrants by authorities on the southern border, especially of migrant families, rose sharply in the past year. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, apprehensions of “unaccompanied alien children” has risen by nearly 75% from May 2018 to May 2019. The rise in apprehensions is led by El Paso, which has seen a 323% rise in that period period.
Despite this, Fernando Ceniceros, communications specialist for the Diocese of El Paso, told CNA last week that changes in border patrol policy have likely led to a recent decrease in migrants entering the United States at El Paso, but the humanitarian crisis is no less severe— the difference is that many would-be migrants in need of aid are required to remain in Mexico, rather than crossing the border.
DHS announced new Migrant Protection Protocols in January, providing that migrants arriving illegally or without proper documentation “may be returned to Mexico and wait outside of the U.S. for the duration of their immigration proceedings, where Mexico will provide them with all appropriate humanitarian protections for the duration of their stay.”
In a recent development, planned raids to detain and deport thousands of undocumented immigrants will go ahead after a postponement of several weeks, the Trump administration announced this week.
Posted on 07/13/2019 01:00 AM (EWTN News - US Catholic News)
Washington D.C., Jul 12, 2019 / 05:00 pm (CNA).- Pro-life leaders were invited to a White House social media summit Thursday, amid claims of online censorship by search engines and social media sites.
“We are the tip of the spear as far as social media persecution goes,” Cary Solomon, co-writer, director and producer of the pro-life film “Unplanned” told CNA on Friday. “We are an example of a business that was directly, monetarily hurt” by online censorship.
President Trump has previously met with the heads of tech and social media corporations, but “Unplanned” co-director Chuck Konzelman said, yet “what struck a chord” at the July 11 summit “was that idea that I think he’s finally recognized this is all in bad faith.”
Several pro-life leaders were among the 200 digital and social media experts invited to the White House summit. Among those also invited were several members of Congress including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas).
Lila Rose, founder and president of the pro-life group Live Action, addressed President Trump and the summit briefly on Thursday, sharing how Live Action has had to deal with obstacles to online advertising.
Live Action has been prevented from advertising on Twitter for four years, Rose said, having been told by the social media giant that the group would need to stop calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood and sharing its pro-life content.
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider still advertises on the site, she noted. Meanwhile, the site YouTube “buried our pro-life videos and boosted abortion videos,” Rose said.
Live Action says it was also permanently suspended from Pinterest in June, over allegations of promoting “conspiracy theories,” despite abortion clinics and pro-abortion groups posting freely.
Mallory Quigley, vice president of communications for the Susan B. Anthony List, was also present at Thursday’s summit. She said that Pinterest has left up posts on its site explaining how to do at-home abortions. “That threatens the health and safety of women,” she said.
Informing voters of pro-life issues ahead of the 2018 elections was “critical” to the mission of Susan B. Anthony List, Quigley said. But their videos—including TV ads featuring children born prematurely at 20 weeks to illustrate that babies are viable by that age—faced censorship online.
Facebook took down one such campaign ad in Tennessee, but reinstated it with an apology. But a similar ad in Montana disappeared just hours later, Quigley said, a process of “starting and stopping” online ads for seemingly “arbitrary reasons.”
“And that really impedes our ability to reach voters,” she said.
Search engines like Google and social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube “have set themselves up as a platform where all voices are supposed to be welcomed,” Quigley said, yet “there’s been just demonstrable bias against pro-life organizations,” she said, “and we haven’t heard of the same thing happening on the other side of this debate.”
On its opening weekend—critical to any film, but especially to a smaller-budget film — “Unplanned” had its Twitter page taken down and lost the vast majority of its followers, Konzelman said. Pro-Life activist Abby Johnson, who’s conversion from a Planned Parenthood clinic manager is the premise of the film, could not access her own Twitter account during the same period.
In addition, in its Google searches for movie times, the film was labeled “Drama/Propaganda,” he said, “and ‘propaganda’ is not something an algorithm would assign. That’s the work of a human being.”
In addition, Konzelman said YouTube pulled their behind-the-scenes documentary off the website, posted to promote interest in the film, citing several pieces of copyrighted music in the video, even though “Unplanned” had rights to the music. At the same time, the site allowed a serious copyright infringement to take place as the entire copy of the movie stayed on the site and was not taken down after it was released in theaters.
All four attendees were grateful that the White House was giving the subject attention.
“This double-standard and bias is a growing problem in big tech, even though they say that they are politically neutral and that they don’t discriminate,” Rose said on Thursday at the summit. “So thank you so much to the administration and to you, Mr. President, for holding this very important summit.”
Quigley said Trump’s invitation had “put the spotlight on such an important pro-life leader, and an issue that they have faced in a very particular way, and that the entire movement is facing.”
“It is very moving and encouraging.”