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19th of November 2019.
Tuesday of the 33rd week in Ordinary Time
Liturgical colour: green    (more...)
I
N THE CHURCH TODAY
M
ASS INTENTIONS
Today (Tuesday)12:00 amLena O'Neill (Anniversary)
Tomorrow (Wednesday)12:00 amNancy McGough (Anniversary)
R
ECENTLY DECEASED
We remember all those who have died recently:
Déirdre Kelleher Funeral Notice...
Mary O'Reilly Funeral Notice...
Bríd Deane Funeral Notice...
Aidan Lernihan Funeral Notice...
John Fogarty Funeral Notice...
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha
TODAY'S READINGS
I
NTROIT
Dicit Dominus Ego cogitoListenFollow
F
IRST READING
2 Maccabees 6:18-31
Responsorial Psalm
Eleazar, one of the foremost teachers of the Law, a man already advanced in years and of most noble appearance, was being forced to open his mouth wide to swallow pig’s flesh. But he, resolving to die with honour rather than to live disgraced, went to the block of his own accord, spitting the stuff out, the plain duty of anyone with the courage to reject what it is not lawful to taste, even from a natural tenderness for his own life.

...Full Reading

Eleazar, one of the foremost teachers of the Law, a man already advanced in years and of most noble appearance, was being forced to open his mouth wide to swallow pig’s flesh. But he, resolving to die with honour rather than to live disgraced, went to the block of his own accord, spitting the stuff out, the plain duty of anyone with the courage to reject what it is not lawful to taste, even from a natural tenderness for his own life. Those in charge of the impious banquet, because of their long-standing friendship with him, took him aside and privately urged him to have meat brought of a kind he could properly use, prepared by himself, and only pretend to eat the portions of sacrificial meat as prescribed by the king; this action would enable him to escape death, by availing himself of an act of kindness prompted by their long friendship. But having taken a noble decision worthy of his years and the dignity of his great age and the well earned distinction of his grey hairs, worthy too of his impeccable conduct from boyhood, and above all of the holy legislation established by God himself, he publicly stated his convictions, telling them to send him at once to Hades. ‘Such pretence’ he said ‘does not square with our time of life; many young people would suppose that Eleazar at the age of ninety had conformed to the foreigners’ way of life, and because I had played this part for the sake of a paltry brief spell of life might themselves be led astray on my account; I should only bring defilement and disgrace on my old age. Even though for the moment I avoid execution by man, I can never, living or dead, elude the grasp of the Almighty. Therefore if I am man enough to quit this life here and now I shall prove myself worthy of my old age, and I shall have left the young a noble example of how to make a good death, eagerly and generously, for the venerable and holy laws.’
  With these words he went straight to the block. His escorts, so recently well disposed towards him, turned against him after this declaration, which they regarded as sheer madness. Just before he died under the blows, he groaned aloud and said, ‘The Lord whose knowledge is holy sees clearly that, though I might have escaped death, whatever agonies of body I now endure under this bludgeoning, in my soul I am glad to suffer, because of the awe which he inspires in me.’
  This was how he died, leaving his death as an example of nobility and a record of virtue not only for the young but for the great majority of the nation.

...Show Summary

R
ESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 3:2-7
The Lord upholds me.
How many are my foes, O Lord!
  How many are rising up against me!
How many are saying about me:
  ‘There is no help for him in God.’
...Full Responsorial Psalm
The Lord upholds me.
How many are my foes, O Lord!
  How many are rising up against me!
How many are saying about me:
  ‘There is no help for him in God.’
The Lord upholds me.

But you, Lord, are a shield about me,
  my glory, who lift up my head.
I cry aloud to the Lord.
  He answers from his holy mountain.
The Lord upholds me.

I lie down to rest and I sleep.
  I wake, for the Lord upholds me.
I will not fear even thousands of people
  who are ranged on every side against me.
The Lord upholds me.

...Show Summary

G
OSPEL ACCLAMATION
cfPs129:5
Alleluia, alleluia!
My soul is waiting for the Lord,
I count on his word.
Alleluia!
...Alternative Acclamation
Alleluia, alleluia!
My soul is waiting for the Lord,
I count on his word.
Alleluia!
O
R
1Jn4:10
Alleluia, alleluia!
God so loved us that he sent his Son
to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away.
Alleluia!

...Show First

G
RADUAL
Liberasti nos DomineFollow
A
LLELUIA
De profundis clamavi (Alleluia)Follow
G
OSPEL
Luke 19:1-10
Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance: he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man. He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way.
...Full Gospel
Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance: he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man. He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way. When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully. They all complained when they saw what was happening. ‘He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house’ they said. But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, ‘Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost.’
...Show Summary
O
FFERTORY
De profundis clamavi (Offertory)Follow
C
OMMUNION
Amen dico vobis quidquidListenFollow


L
ISTEN TO TODAY'S READINGS

(New American Bible.)


The Parable of the Talents 
Luke 19:12-27
(
TODAYS GOSPEL:
Luke 19:1-10 )

TODAY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

Old Calendar: St. Elizabeth of Hungary, widow; St. Pontianus, pope and martyr; St. Mechtildis (Matilda) (hist)

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and the commemoration of St. Pontianus (or Pontian). According to the Ordinary Form St.

...Full Version


Old Calendar: St. Elizabeth of Hungary, widow; St. Pontianus, pope and martyr; St. Mechtildis (Matilda) (hist)

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and the commemoration of St. Pontianus (or Pontian). According to the Ordinary Form St. Elizabeth's feast is now celebrated on November 17 and St. Pontianus (or Pontian) is on August 13.

Historically today is the feast of St. Mechtildis who was born to a noble family in Heifta, Saxony, and was placed in a Benedictine convent at age seven. Mechtildis was a mystic, and aided St. Gertrude with her Book of Special Graces or The Revelation of St. Mechtildis.

Death does not herald the end of personal existence but rather a new triumphal beginning. Although we are faced with the certainty of death, we are at the same time consoled by the promise of a glorious bodily immortality. What Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body, did for Himself He will also do for His members. The same divine power is always operative within Him.

During the final week of the ecclesiastical year, the language of the liturgy becomes very earnest and impressive. The Last Judgment with all its terrors is approaching. By this reminder the Church desires to make us realize our responsibilities, but she also desires to show us in Christ's judgment His crowning victory and the completion of His work of redemption. We should be inspired with confidence and very great hope at the thought that He who will come to judge us is the very same who came into this world to save us. Throughout the liturgical year the Church never ceases to remind us of this.

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Like a Drop of Water as It Falls into the Ocean
The month of November opens with two Feast Days lived intensely by the Liturgy and by popular piety: All Saints and All Souls. These two feasts give depth to the month traditionally dedicated to praying for those who have crossed the threshold of hope. When we pray for the faithful departed, or better, for those living in the Next World, we are reminded of the ultimate realities of human existence.

...Full Version


Like a Drop of Water as It Falls into the Ocean
The month of November opens with two Feast Days lived intensely by the Liturgy and by popular piety: All Saints and All Souls. These two feasts give depth to the month traditionally dedicated to praying for those who have crossed the threshold of hope. When we pray for the faithful departed, or better, for those living in the Next World, we are reminded of the ultimate realities of human existence. Authentic Christians are ever more keenly aware of this dimension as they pray for the souls in Purgatory, who are unable to help themselves and rely on our prayers.

“O good Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell and take all souls into Heaven, especially those most in need of your mercy ”. With this brief and intense invocation, Our Lady in Fatima asked people to pray to Jesus for the holy souls in Purgatory. Each of us is called to holiness and if we were to take seriously the wonderful vocation to live here in earth in communion with the Lord Jesus, then death would be simply “departing” for Heaven.

Thinking of human freedom there comes to mind what Jesus said: “many are called but few are chosen” (Mt 22, 14). God calls everyone to holiness, but few heed the invitation to a banquet of intimate communion with Jesus, the banquet of eternal life which starts here on earth. We are too distracted by many things, like the guests in Gospel who make excuses with the host saying: “I have bought a piece of land and must go and see it. Please accept my apologies." Another said, "I have bought five yoke of oxen and am on my way to try them out. Please accept my apologies." Yet another said, "I have just got married and so am unable to come." (Lc 14, 18-20).

We may feel we are entitled to live life without entrusting it day after day to the one who created and redeemed us, without spending it entirely for the Kingdom of God, because there are so many other important things on which apparently it can be spent: success, profit, so-called “well-being”, a career, power… in general anything which favors affirmation of self, among the wide range of opportunities presented by the world today.

And so life is full of concerns which suffocate loving attention for our Lord and God, and interest for him disappears. The believer is tempted to put off prayer until 'after' his radical conversion: when I have more time I will pray, when I have less concerns I will give more thought to others, when I feel like it I will go more often to church…

The life which the saints lived was not about waiting until tomorrow simply because tomorrow does not belong to us. Ours is only the present moment and it is today that we must convert our hearts, refusing compromise with sin, which is the real enemy of happiness, earthly and heavenly. Grave sin stops supernatural life and, consequently, holiness, that is growth in Jesus Christ.

On life's horizon, the believer and every person, has to look at death. Certainly we celebrate earthly birth, surrounding it with much attention, but not to be forgotten either, is the “birth” prelude to the great birth to Heaven! For the believer in Christ, life on earth runs towards eternal Life in God. The saints knew this and their funerals were celebrations, because their death was lived as their “birth” to Heaven.

Life on earth is like a drop of water as it falls down into the ocean waiting to embrace it. It falls in a very short time. What a wonderful, consoling truth for the believer, awareness, certainty that comes from faith, of the promises of the Risen Lord, life does not fall into nothingness, it is joined forever with the infinite love of God, plunged into the boundless sea of His Divine mercy! As the Holy Father Benedict XVI, said with these luminous words: “Today we confirm our hope in eternal life founded on the death and resurrection of Christ. ‘I am risen and will be with you forever, says the Lord, and my hand will support you. Whenever you fall, you will fall into my hands and I will be there even at the door of death. Where no one can accompany you and where you can take nothing with you. There I will be waiting to change the darkness into light” (Benedict XVI, Angelus, 2 November 2008).

— by Mgr Luciano Alimandi, Agenzia Fides

Things to Do:

  • Today would be a good time to meditate on our own last end. Maybe pick up the Imitation of Christ and read Book 1 Chapter 24.

  • Make sure you have your Advent wreath ready, candles and all. Decide what ceremony and prayers you will use with your family.

  • If you are going to make or use an Advent calendar or the Jesse tree gather everything you need today.

  • If you plan to stir-up plum pudding on Sunday be sure you have all the ingredients.

...Show Summary


St. Mechtildis
St. Mechtildis was one of a trio of extraordinary mystics who inhabited the same Benedictine convent in Saxony in the late thirteenth century.

...Full Version


St. Mechtildis
St. Mechtildis was one of a trio of extraordinary mystics who inhabited the same Benedictine convent in Saxony in the late thirteenth century. Aside from Mechtildis of Helfta (born in Hackeborn – and also carries that title), first came to the convent of Helfta when she was seven, there was also the ex-Beguine St Mechtild of Magdeburg (70 years prior) and the younger, St Gertrude the Great. None of these women held any notable office in their community and yet they exerted spiritual authority far beyond the convent as a result of their visions and their wide reputation for holiness.

Mechtildis of Helfta and Gertrude were particularly close. Gertrude had been donated, to the convent at the age of five, and Mechtildis, fifteen years her senior, had been largely responsible for her upbringing. As nuns and mystics they both developed a similar spirituality, emphasizing an affective devotion to the humanity of Christ and a strong focus on the Eucharist.
In the case of Mechtildis, her first mystical vision occurred while receiving Holy Communion. our Lord appeared to her, held her hands, and left his imprint on her heart "like a seal in wax." Christ furthermore presented his own heart to her in the form of a cup and said, "By my heart you will praise me always; go, offer to all the saints the drink of life from my heart that they may be happily inebriated with it."

Mechtildis had a great devotion to the humanity of Christ, for this humanity was the "door" by which human beings and, indeed, all creation entered into union with divinity. In one extraordinary vision she perceived that "the smallest details of creation are reflected in the Holy Trinity by means of the humanity of Christ, because it is from the same earth that produced them that Christ drew his humanity."

As a result of her visions, Mechtildis wielded tremendous authority within her community and beyond. She was regarded as a prophet, teacher, and counsellor, "a tender mother of the unfortunate by her continual prayers, her zealous instruction, and her consolations." The teachings and visions of St. Mechtildis were carefully recorded, by her spiritual daughter and lifelong friend, St. Gertrude, in a work entitled the Book of Special Grace. She died on November 19, 1298.

Excerpted from Belgravia Catholic Church of St Anne

Things to Do:

...Show Summary


UPCOMING EVENTS

BETHANY GEC

28th November 20197:30 pm
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BETHANY GEC

28th November 20197:30 pm
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First Sunday of Advent

1st December 2019All Day
Info and Directions

RARA (Com Meeting)

3rd December 20199:30 am
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RARA (Com Meeting)

3rd December 20199:30 am
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LATEST PARISH NEWS

God's Garbage People
firstthings.com

God's Garbage People Despite the persecution, Egypt’s Christians are winning converts. The number and names of converts must be carefully guarded, however, because conversion from Islam carries a high price. “Some of them are kicked out of their houses, some of them are fired, some of them have their kids taken away,” Roshdy says. “But they consider all of these troubles nothing for the sake of Christ. Their faith is so strong, they see him.” Cast out by their families, these men and women are adopted into the household of God.
Read More....
For more stories like these go to Catholic News and Opinion
Advent Course

Fr. Kieran J. O’Mahony OSA will run a 4 week course on Exploring faith during Advent. The course will run on a Wednesday nights at 7.30pm from November 27th to December 18th in the Parish Hall, Willbrook Road. If you would like to take part please give your name to Jason in the Parish Office.
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jason

Statement by the Catholic Bishops of Northern Ireland on the introduction of The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act
catholicbishops.ie

Statement by the Catholic Bishops of Northern Ireland on the introduction of The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act At midnight last night, 21 October, all explicit protection for the unborn child up to 28 weeks of pregnancy was removed in Northern Ireland, leading to potentially one of the most liberal and unregulated abortion regimes in the world.  This is a tragic day for the unborn children who will now never bless our world with their unique and precious lives. It is also a sad day for our local democracy. For the past three months, with tens of thousands of others, we have been calling on our political representatives to restore the NI Assembly, not only to address the pressing economic, social, health, welfare and educational issues of these times, but especially also to debate and halt the Abortion legislation which was rushed through the Westminster Parliament in July 2019.  To describe as a ‘stunt’ the efforts of thousands of citizens from all sections of our community to make use of the democratic system to address an issue of such fundamental importance is […]
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For more stories like these go to Catholic News and Opinion
November Altar List Envelopes

The last of the Envelopes are ready to be delivered to homes and can be collected from the Sacristy. The remaining roads are: Brookvale, Butterfield Grove, Lower Dodder Road, Nutgrove Court, Orchardstown Drive, Rathfarnham Mill, Riverside View, Village Green, Whitchurch Road / Stream & Pines, Woodview Cottages & Woodside. Thank you
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jason

LATEST WORLD NEWS

See more in the Catholic World section. News, Opinion, Reviews, Catholic Teaching, Living the Life.
After Louisiana governor's election, hope for pro-life Democrats?
Baton Rouge, La., Nov 19, 2019 / 10:00 am (CNA).- Pro-lifers are hopeful that the re-election of Democrat John Bel Edwards as Louisiana governor could turn the tide in a party whose leadership has grown increasingly more pro-abortion with each election cycle. John Bel Edwards was re-elected as governor of Louisiana on Saturday by a 40,000-vote margin, winning more than 51 percent of the state’s vote. A Catholic, Edwards first ran for the office in 2015 on an explicitly pro-life platform and won more than 56% of the vote. His campaign aired a TV ad revealing that Edwards and his wife, then 20 weeks pregnant with their daughter, had discovered she had spina bifida in utero. They couple faced down encouragement from a doctor to abort their child. Edwards signed a “heartbeat” bill into law earlier in 2019, banning abortions in the state as soon as a baby’s heartbeat is detected in utero—as early as six weeks gestation--with no exceptions for rape or incest. Josh Mercer, editor of The Loop at CatholicVote.org, told CNA that Edwards’ signing the heartbeat bill into law proved his pro-life credentials and “made the difference” in what was “a tight race.” Edwards has also tried to link other issues with to his pro-life stance, and make it part of a broader platform. Earlier this year he cited his administration’s three straight years of record numbers of foster care adoptions. Edwards also oversaw an expansion of Medicaid access in his state for adults making less than 138% of the federal poverty line. In 2018, he appeared with Vatican officials at the Louisiana Summit on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, and in 2017 at the opening of a shelter for human trafficking victims in the state.  In December of 2018, he told America magazine that "The idea of not doing the Medicaid expansion, I just couldn't reconcile that, because I am pro-life. And the pro-life ethos has to mean more than just the abortion issue. [Abortion] is fundamental, and I understand how important it is, but it's got to go beyond that. The job isn't over when the baby's born if you've got poor people who need access to health care." “He is just the real deal,” Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, told CNA of Edwards. “We like to think he’s the future of the Democratic Party.” On marriage, Edwards in 2015 said that he personally opposed same-sex marriages but that marriage licenses from the state should not be denied same-sex couples, as the Supreme Court had ruled that it was the law of the land.  He issued an executive order in 2016--later overturned in the courts--that established employment protections for state and state contractor employees, on the basis of many categories including sexual orientation and gender identity. The order included a religious exemption for churches and religious organizations. Despite Edwards’ pro-life stance, questions remain of how a similar Democratic candidate might fare with leaders in the Democratic Party who may say there is no litmus test on abortion, but without the evidence to support such a claim. At the national level, the Democratic Party has increasingly adopted an absolutist line on abortion in recent years to the alienation of millions of potential voters, say Day and Charlie Camosy, a theology professor at Fordham University. Edwards’ victory could “jolt” Democratic Party leaders “out of what is just an untenable position” on abortion, Camosy told CNA, calling the current party platform “about as extreme as it could possibly get.” In 2016, the DNC platform called for the repeal of the Hyde and the Helms Amendments—policies barring taxpayer funding of abortions. President Obama’s 2012 faith outreach campaign director Michael Wear even called the platform “extreme” on abortion. In 2017, DNC chair Tom Perez stated that “Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health.” He subsequently met with Day after she requested a meeting on behalf of pro-life Democrats. In the 2020 presidential election, Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden reversed his position on the Hyde Amendment this summer after backlash against his decades-long support for the policy. Other candidates have called for taxpayer funding of elective abortions, federal statutory protections of abortion, or have even said that the mother should be able to choose abortion up until the birth of the child. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in September that “there’s room in our party” for pro-life candidates. However, the party’s most pro-life member in the House, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), has faced repeated primary challenges from an openly pro-abortion candidate and seen the chief of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) withdraw her participation in a fundraiser for him earlier this year after pressure from pro-abortion advocates.  The Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA) on Monday announced a litmus test on abortion for any party candidates running for a state attorney general office, saying that it “will only endorse candidates who support the right to access abortion.” “What is it saying about people like John Bel, and like me, and Senator Casey, and all the elected pro-life Democrats across the country, the Democratic voters who are pro-life?” Day asked. “If there’s a litmus test, does it apply to us too? That they don’t want our votes?” While, according to one study, nearly seven in ten of the party’s voters identify as pro-choice, many voters might still be turned off by more extreme stances on abortion, Day and Camosy said.  Gallup in 2019 reported that 45% of Democrats say abortion should be legal “under certain” conditions, and 14% say it should be illegal in all conditions.  To what extent those “certain” conditions of legality amount to, however, is unclear. Gallup reported that 58% of Americans nationwide would oppose a “heartbeat” bill, such as the one Edwards signed into law.  In 2018, Gallup reported that while 60% of Americans supported legal abortion in the first three months of pregnancy, nearly two-thirds of Americans wanted abortion to be illegal “in the second three months of pregnancy”; that support rose to 81% for illegality in the final three months of pregnancy.  And in advance of the 2020 presidential election, pro-life Democrats in swing states—and even in some heavily-Democratic states—are reportedly disgusted by the party’s extreme support for abortion. “We have pro-life democrats in New York who are just so upset about the trajectory the party has taken,” Day said. Earlier in 2019, the state’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that could allow for many late-term abortions even up until the birth of the child. Even before the law was enacted, New York had one of the highest rates of abortion in the country, Day noted. In fact, according to the Guttmacher Institute, the state had the highest rate of abortions per 1,000 women age 15 to 44, in 2014, of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  “What has it done to address that?” Day asked. A recent New York Times poll showed President Trump level with or beating Democratic frontrunners Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in key swing states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida, although he was slightly behind Joe Biden in most of those states. Abortion “has got to be one of the major reasons why,” Camosy said. In Wisconsin, Camosy said, he knew “without any hesitation at all that there’s a ton of religiously-minded Democrats who are Democrats mostly because they share their views on economics or about a social safety net or about supporting unions in particular, who would identify as pro-life or at least identify as abortion skeptical.” These voters “in fact are totally turned off by what is in the Democratic Party’s platform.” Yet for now, some pro-life voters are wary of a party whose leadership has supported abortion access at the top and whose presidential candidates support taxpayer-funded abortions and at least some late-term abortions.  “Catholics long for the day when both parties nationwide try to outdo each other on the pro-life issue, but that day is sadly not here yet,” Mercer said.
Buffalo bishop says Pope Francis 'very understanding' after scandals
Buffalo, N.Y., Nov 19, 2019 / 09:40 am (CNA).- Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo has released a video statement following his recent ad limina visit to Rome with the bishops of New York. Bishop Malone used the message to insist he is “wholly committed” to the work of healing in the diocese. In the video, released Monday, Malone said that each of the bishops was personally greeted by Pope Francis as they entered and left their audience with the Holy Father, and that the pope had shared his closeness to the people and diocese of Buffalo following a year of controversy. “In a few words spoken privately to me, it was clear that the pope understands the difficulties and distress we here in Buffalo, and I personally, have been experiencing,” Malone said. “He was very understanding and kind.” Malone’s future has been the subject of speculation following months of scandal. At the end of the New York bishops’ ad limina, rumors surfaced on social media that the bishop’s resignation was shortly to be accepted by the pope. Last week, Kathy Spangler, spokesperson for the diocese, called the reports “false” and said Malone would be addressing his trip to Rome this week. In November 2018, a former Buffalo chancery employee leaked confidential diocesan documents related to the handling of claims of clerical sexual abuse. In August, a RICO lawsuit was filed against the diocese and the bishop, alleging that the response of the diocese was comparable to an organized crime syndicate.Recordings of private conversations released in early September appeared to show that Malone believed sexual harassment accusations made against a diocesan priest months before the bishop removed the priest from ministry. The contents of recordings of conversations between Malone and Fr. Ryszard Biernat, his secretary and diocesan vice chancellor, were reported in early September by WKBW in Buffalo. In the conversations, Malone seemed to acknowledge the legitimacy of accusations of harassment and a violation of the seal of confession made against a diocesan priest, Fr. Jeffrey Nowak, by a seminarian, months before the diocese removed Nowak from active ministry. In an Aug. 2 conversation, Malone can reportedly be heard saying, “We are in a true crisis situation. True crisis. And everyone in the office is convinced this could be the end for me as bishop.” The bishop is also heard to say that if the media reported on the Nowak situation, “it could force me to resign.” On October 3, the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC, announced that Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn has been asked to lead an Apostolic Visitation – and canonical inspection – of the Buffalo diocese on behalf of the Congregation for Bishops in Rome. That review concluded at the end of last month, with DiMarzio having made three trips to Buffalo, and interviewing more than 80 people before submitting his report to Rome. On Monday, Malone addressed the status of that report, saying that he had met in Rome with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, head of the Congregation, and that there would be “more on that to come.” “I am of course aware of the intense interest in the results of the Apostolic Visitation recently conducted here and submitted to the Holy See,” Malone said. “The Congregation for Bishops has received the report, which is held in strict confidentiality. I had a brief discussion with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation. More on that to come.” “I ask for your prayers and patience while the path forward is discerned. In the meantime, be assured that I am wholly committed to fostering the healing of victim survivors, rebuilding trust, and with our clergy and other Church ministers, renewing faith and carrying on the essential ministries that serve the needs of Catholics and of the larger Western New York community.” Malone, 73, has led the Buffalo diocese since 2012. He was ordained a priest of Boston in 1972, and became an auxiliary bishop in that diocese in 2000, two years before a national sexual abuse scandal emerged in the United States, centered on the Archdiocese of Boston and the leadership of Cardinal Bernard Law. Malone was Maine’s bishop from 2004 until 2012.
Pastor of vibrant Arkansas parish named Bishop of Shreveport
Vatican City, Nov 19, 2019 / 06:00 am (CNA).- Pope Francis Tuesday appointed Msgr. Francis Malone, pastor of an Arkansa parish known for having generated many priestly vocations, as the next bishop of Shreveport, Louisiana. Malone, 69, is the pastor of Christ the King in Little Rock, Arkansas, a parish which has produced at 6 priests and 6 seminarians since 2006. Before he became pastor in 2001, the parish had not had any vocations. “Msgr. Francis Malone ... showed me how pure joy can be infectious, and that made me want to be a priest from an early age,” Daniel Wendel, a seminarian from Christ the King parish, wrote on the Diocese of Little Rock website this year. Other seminarians and parishioners pointed to Msgr. Malone’s example as among the reasons why their parish has drawn many men to the priesthood. Malone himself credited Eucharistic Adoration. “Our parish had no seminarians until after we inaugurated perpetual adoration,” Msgr. Malone told Arkansas Catholic in 2013. “There can be no coincidence that since PEA [Perpetual Eucharitsic Adoration] began, we have had 11 men step forward to begin the process of discernment that leads to the altar, one of whom is now ordained,” he said. As bishop-elect of the Diocese of Shreveport, Malone will succeed Bishop Michael Gerard Duca who led the diocese for ten years until Pope Francis appointed him bishop of Baton Rouge in June 2018. Born in Philadelphia on Sept. 1, 1950, Malone was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Little Rock at the age of 26. Before becoming pastor at Christ the King, Malone served as pastor at Immaculate Conception Church, St. Anne Church, St. Michael Church, St. Mary of the Mount Church, and rector at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock, among other assignments. Malone is a canon lawyer, who earned his J.C.L. at the Catholic University of America in 1989. He is also holds multiple degrees from the University of Dallas, where he studied history as an undergraduate, and went on to earn master’s degrees in both divinity and education. He has served as Chancellor of Ecclesial Affairs for the Diocese of Little Rock since 2008. Previously he was vicar general 2002-2006, managing editor of Arkansas Catholic Newspaper & director of communications in 1995, and chaplain of Rogers Memorial Hospital in 1983. He was named a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre in 2002 and a protonotary apostolic in 2010. Malone will be the third bishop of Shreveport, a diocese created in 1986. The Diocese of Shreveport has a total population of 812,200, of which 41,335 are Catholic.
Democratic AG group wrong to shun pro-life candidates, critics say
Washington D.C., Nov 19, 2019 / 03:00 am (CNA).- Pro-life Democrats and some election-minded politicos have faulted the decision of a Democratic state attorneys general organization to support only declared pro-abortion rights candidates. The Democratic Attorneys General Association will require candidates to make a public pro-abortion statement if they want to receive backing from the group, the association announced. The association recruits candidates and provides financial support, data analysis, messaging work and policy position development. Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, pointed to the victory of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a pro-life Democrat, who won reelection by about 40,000 votes on Nov. 16. Given his recent victory, Day told CNA, “it is clearly the wrong direction for the Democratic Attorney Generals Association to impose an abortion litmus test on democratic candidates. This is particularly concerning for a party that prides itself on diversity and inclusion.” “Governor Edwards did not run from his pro-life position, he embraced it and was proud to promote a whole life agenda to protect and support life from womb to tomb,” Day continued. “This was a source of strength for his campaign. An abortion-rights candidate would have lost. Imposing a litmus test on candidates would force one-third of Democrats, who oppose abortion, out of the party and lessen the opportunity for Democratic gains.” “We encourage [the Democratic Attorneys General Association] to reconsider this shortsighted and discriminatory policy and embrace a big tent policy of inclusion,” she said. New York Attorney General Letitia James discussed the new requirement in a Nov. 17 video for the group. “Attorneys general are on the front lines of the fight for reproductive freedom,” James said. “They have the power to protect your rights.” Jim Hood, Attorney General of Mississippi, is the only Democratic attorney general to describe himself as a pro-life Democrat. There are 27 Democrats holding this office across the U.S. Former U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, a two-term Democratic attorney general who lost her 2018 Senate re-election bid in a strongly Republican state, told the New York Times she thought the new policy was “wrongheaded.” “There are very principled people, who are Democrats, who feel very strongly about this issue for religious reasons and when you say you’re not welcome in our party I think it is exclusionary,” she said. “You have to look at the totality of a candidate.” She too cited the victory of Gov. Edwards of Louisiana. Edwards campaigned on issues including his opposition to abortion and his support for a state law barring abortion when the unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum of Oregon, a co-chair of the Democratic Attorneys General Association’s executive committee, voiced hope that other Democratic committees would follow the group’s example of exclusive support for pro-abortion candidates. “We are going to be the ones to be right out in front and hopefully the other committees will follow right along,” she told the New York Times. The Democratic Attorneys General Association policy change had been under consideration for three years. Officials with the group said the new rule will attract more diverse candidates and increase the number of women who run for attorney general. In 2017 the association pledged to ensure at least half of the party’s attorneys general will be women by 2022. Sean Rankin, executive director of the association, contended the new requirement will increase “the size of the tent.” “Even in states like Georgia, Texas and Arizona, we’ve run pro-choice candidates who’ve done extraordinarily well,” he told the New York Times. While Democratic political candidates used to speak frequently of their support for legal abortion with the caveat that it should be “safe, legal and rare,” recent years have witnessed a strong turn within the party against any abortion restrictions. Democratic presidential primary candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has renounced his support for the Hyde Amendment, which bars most taxpayer-financed Medicaid funds for abortion. In January a Virginia legislator put forward one of the most radical abortion bills in the country that would have removed most restrictions on second and third trimester abortions, including when the mother was in labor. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, explaining the bill on the regional radio station WTOP, said that under the legislation, a baby that survived a botched abortion would be made “comfortable” while the mother and doctor discuss whether or not the baby would be allowed to survive. He sparked a national uproar over his comments. A New York law just signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo bars employers from enforcing certain codes of conduct or belief in the workplace with regard to “reproductive rights,” and requires them to inform employees of their right to abortions without fear of any workplace retaliatory action. Several plaintiffs have challenged the law, saying it singles out pro-life and religious employers by refusing to exempt them. It forces these organizations to employ people who may have publicly defied the mission of an organization, such as a church employee who publicly opposes the teachings of that church on abortion or marriage. Cuomo has also signed a law requiring contraceptive and abortifacient coverage in employee health plans and a law strengthening legal abortion in the event federal legal precedent is overturned or modified. In October, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a measure requiring public universities to provide free access to drug-induced abortions for students and free abortion counseling services.
Venerable Fulton Sheen to be beatified in December
The beatification will take place in Peoria, Illinois
Thought For The Day – November 19th
Thought for  the day for November 19th – International Men’s Day 2019
Kansas Catholic Conference says Medicaid expansion needs pro-life revisions
Topeka, Kansas, Nov 19, 2019 / 12:17 am (CNA).- As Kansas considers expanding its Medicaid program, the state’s Catholic Conference said its support is contingent upon the establishment of pro-life safeguards. Last week, the Special Committee on Medicaid Expansion - a joint House and Senate panel - held two days of hearings discussing an expansion of KanCare. Chuck Weber, executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference, said in his Nov. 12 testimony that the conference cannot support the legislation unless it explicitly excludes the expansion of abortion coverage, includes conscience protections for healthcare organizations and individuals, and a state constitutional amendment is enacted to clarify that abortion is not a natural right. There are currently an estimated 400,000 people enrolled in Medicaid in Kansas. The Medicaid expansion bill would extend eligibility to an additional 130,000 low-income adults and children, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports. April Holman, executive director of Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, a coalition supporting the expansion, said there is an insurance gap where people cannot afford private health insurance but make too much money to qualify for Medicaid. Weber said the current healthcare system needs to be revised, noting that hospital emergency rooms are required to accept all patients, and therefore become the primary healthcare access point for many uninsured people, which raises costs for everyone. Even for those with health insurance, he said,  rapidly rising deductibles may lead to “crushing debt.” But while the system needs to be updated, Weber said the proposal for Medicaid expansion presents “scientific and ethical” concerns. The Kansas Catholic Conference will not support a Medicaid expansion proposal unless it clearly excludes expanding abortion coverage and includes conscience protections for healthcare institutions and professionals, he said. In addition, the conference believes Kansas must adopt a state constitutional amendment clarifying that abortion is not a “natural right.” The conference believes this is necessary due to the Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt ruling earlier this year, in which the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that abortion is a “natural right.” Weber said the ruling established a right to “virtually unlimited abortion” and used radical language that may provide a legal gateway into physician-assisted suicide and irreversible gender transition procedures. “This ruling raises the specter of publicly funded surgical and chemical abortion,” he said. “The medical community, not an unfettered and unregulated abortion industry, best provides authentic healthcare for vulnerable women and babies.” During the hearing, the special committee approved a motion by Rep. Will Carpenter (R-El Dorado) to enable health care providers to decline treatments for reasons of conscience, and stating that the proposed expansion of Medicaid would not broaden abortion access, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.  
Nov. 19 Tuesday of the Thirty-Third Week of Ordinary Time, Weekday
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and the commemoration of St. Pontianus (or Pontian). According to the Ordinary Form St. Elizabeth's feast is now celebrated on November 17 and St. Pontianus (or Pontian) is on August 13.
Morning Catholic must-reads: 19/11/19
A daily guide to what's happening in the Catholic Church
China defends detention of Muslims in Xinjiang
Urumqi, China, Nov 18, 2019 / 05:01 pm (CNA).- The Chinese government is defending its policy of mass detention and re-education of Muslims in the country's northwest as an appropriate measure against terrorism, following a New York Times report that showed the direct involvement of senior government officials in ordering the policy. Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, criticized the newspaper’s report Nov. 18, saying it smeared China’s efforts against extremism, but not disputing the authenticity of the leaked documents, The Times reported Monday. The Xinjiang government said the earlier Times article was “completely fabricated by hostile forces at home and abroad … America’s New York Times has again fabricated and concocted fake news about Xinjiang. This is nothing more than getting up to its old tricks, and is completely unworthy of refutation. This despicable conduct will surely be met with the contempt of wiser minds in the international community.” The Times reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping laid the groundwork for the development of the mass detentions in a series of private speeches to officials in 2014 in which he called for “absolutely no mercy” toward 'terrorists'. In Urumqi on April 30, 2014, Xi said that “the psychological impact of extremist religious thought on people must never be underestimated. People who are captured by religious extremism — male or female, old or young — have their consciences destroyed, lose their humanity and murder without blinking an eye.” In another speech in Xinjiang, Xi stated: “There must be effective educational remolding and transformation of criminals … even after these people are released, their education and transformation must continue.” According to the Times, 403 pages of documents, nearly half of which were speeches from Xi and other leaders, were leaked to it “by a member of the Chinese political establishment who … expressed hope that their disclosure would prevent party leaders, including Mr. Xi, from escaping culpability for the mass detentions.” Among the documents, the Times said, are a model script for officials encountering returning university students who ask what has happened to their disappeared family members. In the script from officials in Turpan, 120 miles southeast of Urumqi, the students were to be told that if their family members “don’t undergo study and training, they’ll never thoroughly and fully understand the dangers of religious extremism … No matter what age, anyone who has been infected by religious extremism must undergo study.” The students would be told to “treasure this chance for free education that the party and government has provided to thoroughly eradicate erroneous thinking, and also learn Chinese and job skills,” which “offers a great foundation for a happy life for your family.” If the students asked if their relatives had committed any crime, they were to be told that while they hadn't, “it is just that their thinking has been infected by unhealthy thoughts … freedom is only possible when this 'virus' in their thinking is eradicated and they are in good health.” The documents also detail the government's reaction to officials deemed to be inadequately zealous in the repression of the Uighurs. Wang Yongzhi was appointed to run Yarkant county, 830 miles southwest of Urumqi, in 2014. Wang had detention facilities built which housed 20,000 people, but expressed misgivings about the policy, and released some 7,000 internees. After that, he was “detained, stripped of power and prosecuted” in 2017, according to the Times. Xinjiang has experienced some terrorist attacks, including a massive knife attack at a train station in 2014 in which 31 people were killed and 141 wounded, but the Chinese government has repressed reports about the extent of the attacks, the Times reports. The main victims of the Chinese crackdown on Muslims in the region are an ethnic group called the Uighurs. An estimated 1 million Uighurs have been detained in re-education camps in Xinjiang in the past three years, as part of a widespread effort by the government to “Sinicize” religion in the country. Inside the camps they are reportedly subjected to forced labor, torture, and political indoctrination. Outside the camps, Uighurs are monitored by pervasive police forces and facial recognition technology. The Chinese government at one time denied the camps even existed, but has since shifted to defending its actions as a reasonable response to a national security threat. Government officials from the region said in July that the area's re-education camps for Muslims have been successful, with most of those held having been reintegrated into Chinese society. Uighurs can be arrested and detained under vague anti-terrorism laws. Violence in the region escalated in the 1990s and again in 2008. During a Sept. 23 UN event on religious freedom, US vice president Mike Pence mentioned that “the Communist Party in China has arrested Christian pastors, banned the sale of Bibles, demolished churches, and imprisoned more than a million Uighurs in the Muslim population,” and a fact sheet issued by the White House said the administration “is deeply concerned” for the interned Uighurs. And the US State Department hosted a panel on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Sept. 24 to draw attention to the “human rights crisis in Xinjiang,” where partipants heard first-hand accounts of repression of Muslim groups in Xinjiang. John Sullivan, deputy secretary of state, said at the panel that “The UN must seek the immediate, unhindered, and unmonitored access to Xinjiang for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The United Nations, including its member states, have a responsibility to stand up for the human rights of people everywhere, including Muslims in Xinjiang. We urge the UN to investigate and closely monitor China’s rights abuses, including the repression of religious freedom and belief.” “We cannot be the only guardians of the truth nor the only members of the international community to call out China and demand that they stop,” Sullivan stated. Pakistan is among the few Muslim-majority countries to have warned against the escalating persecution of the Uighurs. The US Commerce Department in October added 28 Chinese organizations to a blacklist barring them from buying products from US companies, saying they cooperate in the detention and repression of the Uighurs.
Washington DC drops bill to legalize sex trade
Washington D.C., Nov 18, 2019 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- A bill to legalize the buying and selling of sex in Washington, DC, will not move forward after widespread opposition and concern that the bill lacked enough support of the city council to be passed.  The Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019 (B23-0318) would have made the capital the first city in the United States to fully legalize prostitution.  Councilman David Grosso (I-At Large), who authored the bill, said that he knew it would be an “uphill battle” to become law in D.C., but that he has not given up the issue. The Washington Post reported that Grosso thinks the bill should instead be placed on the ballot in the district and voted on by city residents.  On November 1, Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who leads the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, which hosted a hearing on the bill, told local media WAMU9 that the council would not vote on B23-0318 this year.  “There were incredibly sharp divisions about what the path forward would look like,” said Allen. “It did not seem to be consensus at all, and I don’t hear the support from my colleagues.” Despite the lack of further action on the bill, Allen said that he thought it had sparked a “very important conversation” that had given “a lot of voice to a community that is already very marginalized.”  On October 17, D.C. Council held a 14-hour hearing that included passionate testimony from people on both sides of the issue. Testifying against passing the bill included the Archdiocese of Washington, former sex workers, and Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office.  The American Civil Liberties Union and current sex workers in DC were among the many who testified in favor of the bill’s passage.  Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) reported that the majority of the feedback his office had received about the bill was negative. He rejected claims that he had somehow rigged the DC Council to be against the legalization of prostitution.  Mendelson said the controversy over B23-0318 was “unusually large” and that it is very rare for a hearing to stretch 14 hours with many people opposed to the bill. “We will continue to look for ways to best serve the interest of victims,” said Mendelson. “Addressing the issue of prostitution again in this form seems unlikely.”
Venerable Fulton Sheen to be beatified in December
Peoria, Ill., Nov 18, 2019 / 02:42 pm (CNA).- The Diocese of Peoria announced Monday that Venerable Fulton Sheen will be beatified Dec. 21 at the city's Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception. Sheen had been ordained a priest of the diocese in that cathedral Sept. 20, 1919. “It seems entirely fitting that the Beatification will take place at the end of this 100-year anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood,” the Peoria diocese stated Nov. 18. Sheen was born in Illinois in 1895, and was 24 when he was ordained a priest. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of New York in 1951, and he remained there until his appointment as Bishop of Rochester in 1966. He retired in 1969 and moved back to New York City until his death in 1979. Sheen was a beloved television catechist during the 1950s and '60s in the United States. His television show “Life is Worth Living” reached an audience of millions. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints promulgated a decree July 6 recognizing a miracle attributed to Sheen's intercession, which allowed for his beatification. The miracle involves the unexplained recovery of James Fulton Engstrom, a boy born apparently stillborn in September 2010 to Bonnie and Travis Engstrom of the Peoria-area town of Goodfield. He showed no signs of life as medical professionals tried to revive him. The child’s mother and father prayed to Archbishop Sheen to heal their son. The Peoria diocese opened the cause for Sheen’s canonization in 2002, after Archdiocese of New York said it would not explore the case. In 2012, Benedict XVI recognized the heroic virtues of the archbishop. The beatification follows legal battles in civil courts over the location of Sheen's body. His corpse was transferred to the Peoria cathedral June 27 after a protracted series of suits. Sheen’s will had declared his wish to be buried in the Archdiocese of New York Calvary Cemetery. Soon after Sheen died, Cardinal Terence Cooke of New York asked Joan Sheen Cunningham, Sheen’s niece and closest living relative, if his remains could be placed in the crypt of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, and she consented. In September 2014, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria suspended Sheen’s cause on the grounds that the Holy See expected Sheen’s remains to be in the Peoria diocese. Cunningham has since said that Sheen would have wanted to have been interred in Peoria if he knew that he would be considered for sainthood. In 2016, she filed a legal complaint seeking to have her uncle’s remains moved to the Peoria cathedral.
Our Lady unites the divided into the faithful, Cordileone says
Washington D.C., Nov 18, 2019 / 02:30 pm (CNA).- Mary unites all of God’s children, sparking conversions among those of different faiths, said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco on Saturday, Nov. 16. The archbishop pointed to Mary as a force for conversion and unity among different peoples at the first-ever Mass of the Americas in the Extraordinary Form, held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.  “This Mass we celebrate today, the ‘Mass of the Americas,’ speaks profoundly to the power of our Mother to unite her children,” said Cordileone in his homily. “She stands there in every generation of the Church, interceding to her Son for her children, actively leading them to him, united as one in him.”  The Mass of the Americas is a “twinned tribute” to both Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. It was commissioned by the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship, and was first celebrated Dec. 8, 2018, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Since its debut, it has gone on a “Marian unity tour” throughout North America, which included a stop in Washington, DC.  The Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship’s website states that it is an organization dedicated to “open[ing] the door of Beauty to God” through providing resources for “more beautiful and reverent liturgies” as well as “energizing a Catholic culture of the arts.”  It was no accident that Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared as a mixed-race woman who could appeal both to native Mexicans and the Spanish settlers, and that her image resulted in the conversion of an entire country, explained Cordileone.  “She appeared at a time of great conflict, turbulence and bloodshed, to form a new Christian people for her Son, not by the sword nor by human sacrifice, but by the love of a mother who identifies herself with her children,” he said.  “After [the apparition] Mexico became Catholic: Our Lady of Guadalupe unites the Old World and the New, and so a new Christian people is formed from the two, a mestizo people; a new Christian civilization is born from the union brought about by her who is venerated as both la Morenita and la Inmaculada,” the archbishop said. Cordileone also spoke about how the Church is open to all, regardless of their material worth, and that it is a chance for people to satisfy the innate human hunger for beauty. The archbishop pointed to the Extraordinary Form liturgy, music, and vestments as a form of assisting humanity in their desire for beautiful things.  “Perhaps what the poor most lack in their lives is beauty: being dignified by that beauty which ennobles and elevates the soul, assuring them of their equal dignity as a fellow child of God whom God created in His image and likeness,” said Cordileone.  Poverty, said the archbishop, is not just limited to a lack of material goods. “There is also spiritual poverty, a poverty of the soul. The absence of beauty and prevalence of the ugly eventually corrupts a soul, leading to spiritual misery,” he said. Evidence of this spiritual poverty is found in increasing rates of depression, “irrational intolerance” of people with differing views, and predation of the less fortunate, he said. Despite living in the United States, “the most affluent society in the history of the world,” America is still overrun with “Anger, division, injustice and depression.”  The Church’s three transcendentals of beauty, truth, and goodness are one way to combat this divide. “We are happy to come together today to offer something beautiful to God and to express our love for the Mother of His Son: we give our best, because we are motivated by love, which settles for nothing less,” he said.  “And here our Blessed Mother is once again uniting us: the poor with the well-to-do and the in between, from every nation, race, people and tongue.”
Pope, Abu Dhabi crown prince make joint commitment to improving health of the poor
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Nov 18, 2019 / 01:57 pm (CNA).- In a joint statement signed Monday, Pope Francis and Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, committed to helping improve the health of those who live in impoverished communities. The statement was signed in Abu Dhabi on their behalf Nov. 18 by Archbishop Francisco Padilla, apostolic nuncio to the United Arab Emirates, and Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, the crown prince's undersecretary. “We reaffirm our mutual cooperation towards the improvement of the health and wellbeing of communities in need,” they said. “This cooperation stems from a belief that every person, no matter their background, has the right to live a dignified and healthy life.” The statement was made on the occasion of the Reaching the Last Mile forum held in Abu Dhabi, an initiative of Al Nahyan's that works to eradicate preventable diseases like polio, malaria, and guinea worm disease from poor communities. Such preventable diseases often spread as a result of “the poverty and social vulnerability of the most marginalized members of society,” the statement noted. The pope and the crown prince called for renewed efforts on the parts of states to improve the health and medical resources available to all of their citizens, including the most marginalized. They also called on the international community to commit to improving the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations throughout the world. “One such area of focus is the fight to end Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), which affect more than 1.5 billion of the world’s population,” they said. According to the World Health Organization, NTDs are “a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries.” “Faced with diseases that today can be monitored, prevented and eliminated, there is a need for greater efforts on the parts of all to coordinate available resources in order to achieve adequate solutions,” Pope Francis and Al Nahyan said. “This will also demand an interdisciplinary, socio-medical and environmental approach. Guaranteeing the right to treatment for all people is paramount. We therefore fully support the Reaching the Last Mile Fund and its work in treating and monitoring of NTDs, and in the future will continue to collaborate on other global health initiatives,” they said. “Finally, we trust in the solidarity of all people who understand the sufferings of those in situations of great need in neglected and disadvantaged parts of the world, so that this needless scourge afflicting humanity may be eradicated once and for all.” Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Pope Francis visited the city in February, to promote interreligious dialogue and give support to the UAE's Christian minority. He was invited by Al Nahyan, and while there he signed a peace declaration on human fraternity with Ahmed el-Tayeb, grand imam of al-Azhar, which stated that “the pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings.”
Chick-Fil-A sauces Christian charities
Washington D.C., Nov 18, 2019 / 01:45 pm (CNA).- American fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A has announced it will stop donating to two large faith-based charitable organizations, after years of criticism from LGBT groups. On Monday, the Chick-Fil-A Foundation announced the organizations it would donate to in 2020. Notably, the foundation will no longer donate to the Salvation Army or to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Instead, the foundation has pledged $9 million each to Junior Achievement, Covenant House International, and local food banks near new Chick-Fil-A locations.  “The Foundation will no longer make multi-year commitments and will reassess its philanthropic partnerships annually to allow maximum impact,” said the Chick-Fil-A Foundation in a press release. “These partners could include faith-based and non-faith-based charities.”  Previously, the Chick-Fil-A Foundation had donated to support the Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and had signed multi-year commitments with each organization. According to a statement provided to Business Insider from Chick-Fil-A, those deals were fulfilled in 2018 and were not renewed.  The donations to Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes were earmarked for specific programs that would assist underprivileged children. Both the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army promote the Biblical belief that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. Fellowship of Christian Athletes includes on its application for employment the organization's belief that God does not approve of same-sex relationships or premarital sex.  The Salvation Army denies allegations that it is an anti-gay organization, and says that its charitable services are available to all, regardless of sexual orientation.  Chick-Fil-A has faced considerable controversy regarding its past charitable donations. In 2012, after the founder of Chick-Fil-A stated his opposition to same-sex marriage, there were calls for a nationwide boycott of the chain. This boycott largely failed, and Chick-Fil-A is now the third-largest restaurant chain in the country in terms of systemwide sales, trailing only McDonald’s and Starbucks.  After the outcry in 2012, Chick-Fil-A announced that it would no longer be supporting some  organizations link to traditional views on marriage through its WinShape Foundation. The chain continued to provide support for both the Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  Chick-Fil-A’s donation history has been cited in efforts to block the restaurant from opening locations in San Antonio and Buffalo’s airports. The opening of the company’s first restaurant in United Kingdom was met with extended protests by LGBT campaigners. The owners of the U.K. shopping center hosting the Chick-Fil-A announced that the lease would not be renewed after the six month trial.  Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays to give the chain’s workers a chance to attend religious services and be with their families.
Lawsuit filed over latest New York abortion law
Albany, N.Y., Nov 18, 2019 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- Several pro-life organizations in New York have sued the state over a law they say targets pro-life and religious employers, barring them from reflecting their core beliefs in hiring policies. “No government has the right to tell pro-life or religious organizations they must hire someone who doesn’t agree with their core mission,” Ken Connelly, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, said Monday. ADF is representing the plaintiffs in the case. On Novemebr 14, a New York-based crisis pregnancy center and Baptist church, along with a national association of pregnancy care centers, filed a lawsuit over New York’s new law SB 660, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on November 8.  The law bars employers from enforcing certain codes of conduct or belief in the workplace with regard to “reproductive rights,” and requires them to inform employees of their right to abortions without fear of any workplace retaliatory action. The law, plaintiffs say, singles out pro-life and religious employers by refusing to exempt them. It forces these organizations to continue employ people who may have publicly defied the mission of an organization—for example, an employee at a pro-life crisis pregnancy center who has an abortion, or a church employee who publicly opposes the teachings of that church on abortion or marriage. “New York is directly demeaning religious pro-life pregnancy centers and other faith-based organizations—like religious schools, Catholic hospitals, and even churches—by ordering them to violate their beliefs in key personnel and leadership decisions,” Connelly said. The lawsuit’s plaintiffs include CompassCare, a Rochester-based pregnancy center, First Bible Baptist Church in Hilton, and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), an association of pregnancy care centers which has 41 member centers in New York. Under SB 660, employers are prevented from taking adverse action against employees for “reproductive health” decisions such as having abortions. In addition, they cannot require employees to sign any document conditioning their employment upon such decisions, such as workplace codes of conduct prohibiting having an abortion. This would mean that religious institutes and pro-life organizations, among others, could not institute workplace codes of conduct prohibiting abortion, nor could they terminate the employment of employees for having an abortion, in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure, or vasectomy. Under the law, employers would have to notify employees of their rights in this regard, in workplace handbooks. “SB 660 intentionally and by design sacrifices the associational, speech, and religious freedom of employers in New York State—including religious non-profits, churches, and schools— to the government’s desire to promote abortion rights by gutting the ability of pro-life employers to hire to their pro-life missions,” the plaintiffs’ brief states. “To fulfill their missions, Plaintiffs hire employees who agree with, personally adhere to, and effectively convey organizational beliefs regarding reproductive health decisions, including but not limited to decisions related to abortion, contraceptive use, and sexual morality,” the brief says. The bill was supported by Planned Parenthood as a measure that would protect women’s access to abortion. “Gov. Cuomo’s message to pro-life New Yorkers is loud and clear: The abortion agenda of Planned Parenthood trumps the lives of the unborn, and anyone who disagrees will be forced to bow to the state’s orthodoxy by force of law,” Connelly said. Gov. Cuomo (D), a Catholic, has signed into law a series of pro-abortion bills in 2019, of which SB 660 is the latest. On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the state legislature passed—and Gov. Cuomo signed—the Reproductive Health Act (SB 240) to applause from observers in the gallery. The law granted almost unlimited access to abortion in New York. The law codified Roe to keep abortion legal if the decision is overturned by the Supreme Court, and allowed abortions after 24 weeks gestation in cases of a lack of “fetal viability” or when the mother’s health is at risk—a broad exemption that critics said could allow for many abortions-on-demand up until the birth of the child. Doctors would not have conscience rights to object to performing abortions, and abortions could be performed by non-doctors under the law, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York noted after the law’s passage. Albany bishop Edward Scharfenberger warned that Catholic legislators’ support for the bill “threatens to rupture” their “communion” with the Church, and separately wrote Gov. Cuomo that “[a]lthough in your recent State of the State address you cited your Catholic faith and said we should ‘stand with Pope Francis,’ your advocacy of extreme abortion legislation is completely contrary to the teachings of our pope and our Church.” This year, Cuomo also signed a law requiring contraceptive and abortifacient coverage in employee health plans.
New Zealand to hold euthanasia referendum
New Zealand will hold a referendum next year on euthanasia. If it passes, the country will permit euthanasia when a patient is deemed to be terminally ill with less than six months left to live. The New Zealand parliament voted by 69-51 in favour of the legislation which will be put to the people on the same day as a scheduled General Election next year. The referendum is not required, strictly speaking and there will no nothing in the future to stop parliament passing more liberal legislation. The original form of the law would have permitted euthanasia/assisted suicide for ‘severe’ and ‘incurable’ conditions. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-50408033?ocid=socialflow_twitter
Witnesses better than initiatives in parish-based evangelization, Pope Francis says
Vatican City, Nov 18, 2019 / 09:57 am (CNA).- Having a lot of parish initiatives is not the best way to reach people on a deeper level, Pope Francis said Monday, adding that evangelization is about giving a witness to personal encounter with Christ. “Our parishes are invaded by many initiatives, where often, however, it does not affect the lives of people in depth,” he said Nov. 18 in the Vatican’s Pope Paul VI hall. Speaking to Catholics who take part in “parish cells,” small, neighborhood-based prayer and study groups in Italy, he said, “you too are entrusted with the task of reviving, especially in this period, the life of our parish communities.” “This will be possible insofar as [parishes] become, above all, a place to listen to the Word of God and celebrate the mystery of his death and resurrection,” he explained. “Only from here can we think that the work of evangelization becomes effective and fruitful, capable of bearing fruit.” He noted that many people, for different reasons, are no longer attending their parish, arguing that “it is therefore urgent that we recover the need for the encounter to reach people where they live and work.” “If we have encountered Christ in our lives, then we cannot just keep it for ourselves. It is crucial that we share this experience also with others; this is the main road to evangelization,” he said. “When the encounter is the fruit of Christian love, it changes lives because it reaches the hearts of people and touches them in depth.” Parish cells are a ministry begun by Msgr. Michael Eivers, an Irish priest who served as a missionary in Nigeria before becoming a parish priest in Miami. Eivers died in 2017 at the age of 87. Parish cells can now be found around the world. The pope urged Catholics to “never tire of following the paths that the Spirit of the Risen Lord” puts before them, including initiatives which allow for a deep witness of Christian discipleship, but he warned against expecting to always see the fruits of one’s evangelical labors. Though it is human to want to see positive outcomes and results, he reminded Catholics that there is no promise from the Lord they will see them. “Jesus did not tell the disciples that they would see the fruits of their work. He only assured that the fruits would endure. This promise also applies to us,” he stated. “Do not hold back any fear of the new, and do not slow down your steps [among] the difficulties that are inevitable in the way of evangelization,” he added. “When one is a missionary disciple, then enthusiasm can never fail!”
Faithcast podcast features Trócaire’s work to raise awareness of impacts of climate change
This week’s Faithcast podcast features Trócaire’s work to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change on some of the poorest people in the world. Cliona Sharkey, Policy Advisor on climate change with Trócaire, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church, highlights some of the most serious impacts of climate change in the developing world. She speaks about the inertia that has sometimes characterised the response to climate change and shares her hopes that the momentum currently in place on this issue see a global change in mindset towards climate justice and sustainability The faith news this week features Archbishop Eamon Martin’s comments at the Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth conferring ceremony for 2019; Pope Francis’ message for World Day of the Poor on Sunday 17 November; Bishop Dermot Farrell’s pastoral letter ‘Our Living Church’; the meeting between Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby; and, Sister Patricia Murray’s appointment as consultor to the Pontifical Council for Culture. Click here to listen to this week’s episode. Faithcast is the weekly faith podcast from the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, featuring interviews, news and stories of faith.  You can get this podcast directly to your phone by subscribing to the RSS feed or to the iTunes link here. ENDS [Pic shows Maria Lyson and her baby in Masunduko, Chikwawa, Southern Malawi as they recover from the impact of Cyclone Idai. Her village is one of five that are now accessing safe water thanks to a solar powered pump providing water to nine hundred households.  Trócaire staff have been working on the project providing expertise in water management. Credit: Alan Whelan/Trócaire.]
Cardinal Parolin: Pope travels to Thailand, Japan to promote life and peace
Pope Francis travels to Thailand from 19-23 November, and to Japan from 23-26th, as part of his 32nd Apostolic Journey. In an interview with Vatican News, the Vatican Secretary of State gave some indication about the Pope’s hopes and the themes he intends to highlight. Cardinal Pietro Parolin said the world has undergone vast changes since Pope St John Paul II visited Thailand in May 1984 and Japan in February 1981. Globalization, he said, has made it much smaller, allowing people to speak face-to-face despite stunning physical distances. But, he added, Pope Francis wants to travel to far-flung places in order to encounter people in the flesh, because “the human person lies at the heart of the Church’s attention.” The Church must proclaim the Gospel to each and every person, the Cardinal said, to help them answer life’s difficult questions and to help them find meaning. Thailand: Missionary disciples Asked about the visit to Thailand, Cardinal Parolin said Pope Francis is following in the footsteps of the Jesuit missionaries who first proclaimed the Gospel there 350 years ago. So, he said, an important part of the Pope’s message will regard the Christian call to be missionary disciples. Cardinal Parolin said the Pope will likely encourage the 400,000-odd Catholics in Thailand to open themselves to the Holy Spirit, “the true protagonist” of the mission. Mission, he said, “is fulfilled in a fullness that transforms itself into attraction and witness.” Japan: Denuclearization and peace Cardinal Parolin then turned to the second part of the Pope’s visit. “The Japan leg of the journey will be particularly important,” he said, adding that the Pope will likely encourage efforts toward denuclearization. The Cardinal called Japan “a complex nation” that has “suffered greatly” due to the two nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, though it has made a magnificent recovery. He said the nation finds itself “between tradition and innovation”, as it searches for responses to global problems. While in Japan, he said, the Pope will touch on “care for our common home, the pursuit of peace, and disarmament as a requisite for peace.” Pope hopes to share people’s lives Finally, the Cardinal Secretary of State said Pope Francis travels to Asia to be “close the people entrusted to him, desiring to share their joys, expectations, and hopes, as well as their sorrows, sufferings, and contradictions.” As the Pope meets with the local Catholic communities, Cardinal Parolin said, he will also proclaim several messages that are “valid for the whole world and the entire Church.” These, he concluded, include the message of the mission as an foundational element of the Christian experience, the protection of Creation, and the promotion of peace in a fragmented and conflictual world. ENDS Source: Vatican News