No date yet for Blessed Romero canonization, archbishop says

A large canvas depicting Archbishop Oscar Romero hangs on the facade of the National Theater in San Salvador, El Salvador, March 24, 2015, the 35th anniversary of his assassination. (CNS file/Octavio Duran)

A large canvas depicting Archbishop Oscar Romero hangs on the facade of the National Theater in San Salvador, El Salvador, March 24, 2015, the 35th anniversary of his assassination. (CNS file/Octavio Duran)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) — While documentation regarding an alleged miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Oscar Romero is being studied at the Vatican, there is no date scheduled for his canonization, the archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador, said.

“I must say, in all sincerity, that there is no date. And we understand it well because it involves a process. Blessed Romero’s cause is at a decisive phase that is necessary for his canonization,” Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas said March 23 during a memorial Mass for Blessed Romero in Rome.

Archbishop Escobar, along with the other bishops of El Salvador were making their “ad limina” visits to Rome and the Vatican and anticipated the 37th anniversary of Blessed Romero’s death with Mass at Rome’s Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican, World

Top Vatican officials attend child protection seminar

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, speaks during a seminar on safeguarding children at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome March 23. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, speaks during a seminar on safeguarding children at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome March 23. (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) — There is absolutely no excuse for not implementing concrete measures to protect minors and vulnerable adults from sexual abuse, said Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston.

“Let there be no doubt about it: Pope Francis is thoroughly committed to rooting out the scourge of sex abuse in the church,” he said, and “effectively making our church safe for all people demands our collaboration on all levels.”

The cardinal gave the opening prayer and address at a daylong seminar March 23 at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University. The seminar was sponsored by the papal advisory body Cardinal O’Malley heads, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

With new website, Franciscans opt for their own ‘hip-hop’ style

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) — The head of the Franciscans hopes the order’s new website will have a certain “hip-hop” style — being very modern or “hip” and inspiring people to move, act or “hop.”

Franciscan Father Michael Perry, minister general of the order, said the March launch of the revamped website — www.ofm.org — is just phase one of a comprehensive project that will include opportunities for the public to interact with the friars and for the friars to reflect formally on how, when and why they communicate.

The Franciscans decided their website needed a radical redesign because “we discovered we were communicating only to ourselves and not to the world,” Father Perry told Catholic News Service. Continue reading

Posted in World

Pope recognizes miracle attributed to Fatima visionaries

Pope Francis gestures toward the crowd as he points out a statue of Our Lady of Fatima during his general audience on her feast day in 2015. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis gestures toward the crowd as he points out a statue of Our Lady of Fatima during his general audience on her feast day in 2015. (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis has approved the recognition of a miracle attributed to the intercession of two of the shepherd children who saw Our Lady of Fatima in 1917, thus paving the way for their canonization.

Pope Francis signed the decree for the causes of Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto during a meeting March 23 with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, the Vatican said.

The recognition of the miracle makes it likely that the canonization ceremony for the two children will be scheduled soon. The cardinals and bishops who are members of the congregation must vote to recommend their canonization and then the pope would convene the cardinals resident in Rome for a consistory to approve the sainthood. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

London cardinal call for prayers for victims of Westminster attack

Armed police respond outside Parliament during a terror attack in London March 22. (CNS/Reuters)

Armed police respond outside Parliament during a terror attack in London March 22. (CNS/Reuters)

By Catholic News Service

LONDON (CNS) — Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, whose cathedral is just a short walk from the scene of the London terrorist attack, called for prayers for the dead and wounded.

“Yesterday’s attacks in Westminster have shocked us all,” he said in a March 23 statement. “The kind of violence we have seen all too often in other places has again brought horror and killing to this city.”

The five fatalities included Aysha Frade, a 43-year-old Catholic mother mowed down by a car driven by the assailant as he sped over Westminster Bridge toward the British Parliament. Frade was on her way to pick up her children from school when she was killed. Continue reading

Posted in World

Hardened hearts can turn believers into atheists, pope says

Faithful in Manila, Philippines, celebrate the Black Nazarene Jan. 7. When Catholics are "deaf to the word of God," their hearts are hardened, and "they lose the meaning of faithfulness," Pope Francis said. (CNS/EPA)

Faithful in Manila, Philippines, celebrate the Black Nazarene Jan. 7. When Catholics are “deaf to the word of God,” their hearts are hardened, and “they lose the meaning of faithfulness,” Pope Francis said. (CNS/EPA)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Not listening to God’s voice can distance Christians from him and lead them instead to seek solace in worldly idols that offer only doubt and confusion, Pope Francis said.

When Catholics are “deaf to the word of God,” their hearts are hardened, and “they lose the meaning of faithfulness,” the pope said March 23 in his homily during morning Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae.

The pope began his homily by reflecting on the day’s first reading from the prophet Jeremiah in which God laments the unfaithfulness of his people who “walked in the hardness of their evil hearts and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.” Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Cardinal Keeler, retired archbishop of Baltimore, dies at 86

Cardinal William Keeler, retired archbishop of Baltimore, died March 23 in Catonsville, Md. (CNS file/Nancy Wiechec)

Cardinal William Keeler, retired archbishop of Baltimore, died March 23 in Catonsville, Md. (CNS file/Nancy Wiechec)

(Updated 12:28 p.m. ET)

By George P. Matysek Jr.
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Cardinal William H. Keeler, Baltimore’s 14th archbishop, who was an international leader in Catholic-Jewish relations and the driving force behind the restoration of America’s first cathedral, died March 23 at his residence at St. Martin’s Home for the Aged in Catonsville. He was 86.

The archdiocese said the cardinal will lie in repose March 27 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption in Baltimore. His funeral will be celebrated March 28 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, also in Baltimore.

“One of the great blessings in my life was coming to know Cardinal Keeler,” said Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori in a statement. “Cardinal Keeler will be greatly missed. I am grateful to the Little Sisters for their devoted care for the cardinal.” Continue reading

Posted in U.S.