Faith advocates see victories in new farm bill

Cattle rest in a field outside a farm in late July in Peosta, Iowa. Congress has passed an $867 billion farm bill with strong bipartisan support and President Donald Trump is expected to sign it into law soon. The measure allocates billions of dollars in subsidies to American farmers; other provisions include legalizing hemp and rejecting stricter limits on food stamps. (CNS photo/Joshua Lott, Reuters)

By Mark Pattison 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The farm bill that passed both houses of Congress by wide margins doesn’t have money in it to protect endangered species, but it did preserve one that had been on the threatened list: bipartisanship.

“We were so excited that he Senate acted like grown-ups,” said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby.

“They actually did governance, and they had hearings, and Sen. (Pat) Roberts (a Republican) from Kansas: I rarely agree with him on anything, so this was an amazing project he led, focused on the needs of the people involved,” Sister Campbell said Dec. 13. “It was far beyond partisanship in actually trying to make government work.”

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Posted in U.S.

Catechism revision adds impetus in death penalty abolition fight

The death chamber table is seen in 2010 at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. (CNS photo/courtesy Jenevieve Robbins, Texas Department of Criminal Justice handout via Reuters)

By Mark Pattison 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Changes in law and public opinion have had their role to play in the quest to end capital punishment in the United States, but Catholic teaching also has played a part, according to Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

“Pope Francis went there last year, when Pope Francis says the question is not is there a humane way of carrying out executions. There is not a humane way of carrying out executions, he said,” Dunham told Catholic News Service in a Dec. 13 telephone interview. “At the same time, Pope Francis was stressing what he called inadmissibility because it is inherently in conflict with human dignity.”

The revision to section 2267 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which took effect Aug. 2, calls capital punishment “an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” and commits the church to work “with determination” for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty.

It was not the first time the catechism had been revised in conjunction with capital punishment.

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Posted in U.S., Vatican

Sunday Scripture readings, Dec. 16, 2018: Give thanks during Advent

COLUMN ART SPEAK TO ME LORD

The Catholic News Service column, “Speak to Me Lord,” offers reflections on the Sunday Scripture readings. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

Dec. 16, Third Sunday of Advent

Cycle C
1) Zep 3:14-18
Responsorial: Is 12:2-6
2) Phil 4:4-7
Gospel: Lk 3:10-18

By Jem Sullivan
Catholic News Service

For a Christian, thanksgiving is not just an annual holiday but a daily attitude of life. For God became one of us, in humble self-emptying, to reconcile each one of us to God’s love and mercy. For this act of undeserved and unmerited divine love we never exhaust the depths of our gratitude to God.

On this Third Sunday of Advent, traditionally known an Gaudete Sunday, the readings of Scripture invite us to recapture that deep Christian spirit of gratitude expressed in deeds of justice and charity. And as we give thanks to God, we discover the deep hope of Advent in God’s renewed coming into our families, homes and lives. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns

Education key to solving migration crisis, pope says

Pope Francis meets Dec. 14 with organizers and artists who will perform in a benefit Christmas concert at the Vatican. The concert proceeds will be donated to two organizations: Scholas Occurrentes in Iraq and the Don Bosco Mission in Uganda. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — As the celebration of Christmas draws near, the plight of the Holy Family calls to mind the sufferings of the many men, women and children escaping war and persecution, Pope Francis said.

Meeting with organizers and artists participating in a benefit Christmas concert at the Vatican, the pope said the holy season is an invitation to come together to help those in need, especially young migrants who “instead of sitting in school desks, like many of their peers, spend their days doing long marches on foot, or on makeshift and dangerous means of transportation.”

Educating young migrants will give them the tools to find “work in the future and participate in the common good as informed citizens. At the same time, we educate ourselves in order to welcome and show solidarity so that migrants and refugees do not meet indifference or, worse, intolerance on their journey,” he said Dec. 14.

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Posted in Vatican

Ignoring reality of abuse, resisting responsibility must end, says Jesuit

Anyone who still believes the abuse crisis is an “American” or “Western” problem must become properly informed, face reality and realize problems may be hidden and explode in the future, said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi. Father Lombardi is pictured in a 2016 photo at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Claudio Peri, EPA)

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Anyone who still believes the abuse crisis is an “American” or “Western” problem must become properly informed, face reality and realize problems may be hidden and explode in the future, said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi.

And those who think too much talk and attention about abuse only blows the situation out of proportion or that it is time to change the topic are following “a mistaken path,” he said in the Jesuit journal, La Civilta Cattolica.

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Posted in Vatican, World

Itinerant papal preacher: Capuchin will lead U.S. bishops’ retreat

For more than 38 years, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa has preached to the pope and top officials of the Roman Curia. In early January, he will lead the weeklong retreat of the U.S. bishops. He is pictured in a 2010 photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Updated
By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — For more than 38 years, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa has preached to the pope and top officials of the Roman Curia. In early January, he will lead the weeklong retreat of the U.S. bishops.

As they continue to study and discuss ways to respond to the clerical sexual abuse crisis, the bishops will gather for the retreat Jan. 2-8 at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago.

Pope Francis suggested the bishops hold the retreat and offered the services of the 84-year-old Father Cantalamessa, who has served as preacher of the papal household since 1980.

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Posted in U.S., Vatican

Pilgrimage across U.S. lets peacemaker spread light from Bethlehem

At Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Indianapolis Dec. 4, Natalee Darzentas, a student at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Indianapolis, holds a candle ignited with the Peace Light, a flame kindled from the place in Bethlehem, West Bank, where Christ was born. The flame was passed to hundreds of people in more than 30 states by a national network of volunteers. (CNS photo/Katie Rutter)

By Katie Rutter
Catholic News Service

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (CNS) — Brian Duane’s maroon Subaru had already covered about 1,800 miles when he pulled into the parking lot at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Lafayette Dec. 4.

At Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Indianapolis, Karmin Shaw, a student at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, watches as Brian Duane adjusts her lantern Dec. 4 after it had been ignited with the Peace Light, a flame kindled from the place in Bethlehem, West Bank, where Christ was born. Duane is part of a network of volunteers distributing the fire across the country and drove the light from New York City as far west as Denver. (CNS photo/Katie Rutter)

It was Duane’s 18th stop in what would be a weeklong, cross-country journey for the resident of Pembroke, Massachusetts, and his car contained precious cargo with a radiance of goodwill.

This road trip was a mission from Bethlehem carrying a message of peace, contained in a glowing lantern.

This fire had originally been kindled at Christ’s birthplace, the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank. Duane is part of a national network of volunteers spreading this “Peace Light from Bethlehem” across the nation.

“It is symbolic of Christ’s love for us and of the Prince of Peace,” Duane told Catholic News Service. “It serves as a reminder to us.”
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