El Salvador lays to rest another priest presumably assassinated by gangs

Priests carry the casket of Father Cecilio Perez Cruz during a May 20, 2019, funeral for the Salvadoran priest in Sonzacate, El Salvador. Parishioners found Father Perez dead in his residence in Juayua early May 18 with a note nearby that said he had not paid “rent,” a euphemism for extortion money. Preliminary Salvadoran police reports presume he was killed by gangs. (CNS photo/courtesy of Father Edwin Banos)

By Rhina Guidos 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Thousands attended the May 20 funeral of a Salvadoran priest found by his parishioners in what some presume is a gang killing.

Parishioners found Father Cecilio Perez Cruz, a 35-year-old priest and pastor of San Jose La Majada parish in Juayua, shot dead in his residence May 18 with a note nearby that said he had not paid “rent,” a euphemism for extortion money, according to preliminary reports from Salvadoran police.

“He was a well-loved son of the Virgin (Mary) … a humble priest, simple, devoted to his people,” said Father Edwin Banos of the Diocese of Santa Ana, El Salvador, in a video posted May 18 on Facebook.

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Posted in World

Pope asks Italian bishops finally to implement tribunal reforms

Pope Francis speaks at the opening of the annual spring meeting of the Italian bishops’ conference at the Vatican May 20, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis told the bishops of Italy that he was disappointed that so many of their dioceses had yet to implement the reforms he ordered to make the marriage annulment process quicker, more pastoral and less expensive.

“I am saddened to note that the reform, after more than four years, remains far from being applied in most Italian dioceses,” Pope Francis, the bishop of Rome, told other members of the Italian bishops’ conference.

The bishops were holding their annual spring meeting May 20-23 at the Vatican, and Pope Francis opened the gathering. He gave a short speech focused on “synodality” and collegiality, marriage tribunals and the relationship of bishops to their priests.

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Posted in Vatican, World

Throwing away food is like throwing away people, pope says

A farmer dries crops in Wuyuan, China, Oct. 14, 2017. Pope Francis condemned food waste May 18, telling members and volunteers of the European Federation of Food Banks that throwing away food is like throwing away people. (CNS photo/Stringer, Reuters)

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis condemned food waste, saying throwing away food is like throwing away people.

“Waste reveals an indifference toward things and toward those who go without,” he said May 18.

“To throw food away means to throw people away,” he told members and volunteers of the European Federation of Food Banks, including the Food Bank of Italy, which was marking its 30th anniversary.

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Posted in Vatican, World

Washington’s archbishop plans to get ‘out in field’ to meet people, listen

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, 71, greets students at St. Anthony Catholic School in Washington April 5, 2019. In a May 17 interview with Catholic News Service, he said getting out to visit parishes is one of his first priorities as the new archbishop. (CNS photo/Jaclyn Lippelmann, Catholic Standard)

By Julie Asher 
Catholic News Service

HYATTSVILLE, Md. (CNS) — Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory will have a lot of things on his plate when he becomes the newest leader of the influential archdiocese situated in the nation’s capital: the sexual abuse roiling the Catholic Church, the tense political climate on the Hill and the challenges that come with learning about a new archdiocese.

The newest archbishop of Washington knows what his first priority will be however.

The “first and most important thing” is “getting out in the field and meeting the people,” Archbishop Gregory told Catholic News Service in a May 17 interview.

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Posted in U.S.

Immigration advocates express concerns about Trump immigration plan

A group of Central American migrants is questioned about their children’s health after surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol agents south of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in El Paso, Texas, March 6, 2019. (CNS photo/Lucy Nicholson, Reuters)

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholic immigration advocates raised concerns about a proposal from President Donald Trump that would reshape U.S. immigration policy to incorporate a “merit-based” system that prioritizes high-skilled workers over those with family already in the country.

Advocates’ concerns about the Trump plan, announced May 16 at the White House, focused on family unification, strengthening the asylum system and the importance of welcoming people of diverse economic backgrounds and skills.

Saying they appreciate Trump’s willingness to address “problems in our immigration system,” two U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops leaders said they opposed any plans that “seek to curtail family-based immigration and create a largely ‘merit-based’ immigration system.”

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Posted in U.S.

Conservationists at Vatican conference call for protecting biodiversity

A man near Bundaberg, Australia, snorkels in the Great Barrier Reef June 11, 2015. (CNS photo/David Gray, Reuters)

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — People’s attitudes toward nature as well as their economic systems and consumption habits need to radically change in order to protect biodiversity on the planet and promote a more sustainable and caring world, said participants at a Vatican-sponsored conference.

“We can learn how to take care of the world. And we must use all our strength to find ways of making the world more human, giving people the possibility to live their lives so that we may share the richness and the resources given to us in a way that could never be possessed or owned by us,” the participants said in their final statement May 15.

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Posted in Vatican, World

Pope chooses theme for World Meeting of Families 2021

Attendees watch Pope Francis on a screen during the opening ceremony of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin Aug. 21, 2018. The Vatican announced the theme Pope Francis has chosen for the next World Meeting of Families, which will be in Rome June 23-27, 2021: “Family love: a vocation and a path to holiness.” (CNS photo/courtesy John McElroy, World Meeting of Families)

By Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christian family life is a vocation and, when lived with fidelity, it is a path to holiness, said the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life.

The office May 17 announced the theme Pope Francis has chosen for the next World Meeting of Families, which will be in Rome June 23-27, 2021: “Family love: A vocation and a path to holiness.”

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Posted in Vatican