Pope’s tip for becoming a saint: Pray for someone who doesn’t like you

POPE PARISH VISIT ROME

Pope Francis arrives to celebrate Mass at the parish of St. Mary Josefa on the eastern edge of the Diocese of Rome Feb. 19. (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) — A practical first step toward holiness — as well as toward assuring peace in one’s family and in the world — is to pray for a person who has caused offense or harm, Pope Francis said.

“Are you merciful toward the people who have harmed you or don’t like you? If God is merciful, if he is holy, if he is perfect, then we must be merciful, holy and perfect as he is. This is holiness. A man or woman who does this deserves to be canonized,” the pope said Feb. 19 during an evening parish Mass.

“I suggest you start small,” Pope Francis told members of the parish of St. Mary Josefa on the extreme eastern edge of the Diocese of Rome. “We all have enemies. We all know that so-and-so speaks ill of us. We all know. And we all know that this person or that person hates us.”

When that happens, the pope said, “I suggest you take a minute, look at God (and say), ‘This person is your son or your daughter, change his or her heart, bless him or her.’ This is praying for those who don’t like us, for our enemies. Perhaps the rancor will remain in us, but we are making an effort to follow the path of this God who is so good, merciful, holy, perfect, who makes the sun rise on the evil and the good.” Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Unusual detentions, raids raise questions as Trump announces ‘crackdown’

People participate in a protest Feb. 11 in New York City against President Donald Trump's immigration policy and recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids. (CNS/Reuters)

People participate in a protest Feb. 11 in New York City against President Donald Trump’s immigration policy and recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids. (CNS/Reuters)

(Backgrounder)

By Rhina Guidos
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — People had been on edge for a while. You could feel the tension rise in immigrant neighborhoods in the U.S. as news of the first immigration raids under the Trump administration began in early February.

Then news of unusual detentions, some involving battered women and students who had been protected under previous policies, set off panic.

A variety of communities, from the Irish to Latinos, worry that the roundups mark the beginning of what President Donald Trump promised in his campaign for the presidency: to deport the country’s estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Church leaders hope Trump does not repeal conflict-minerals provisions

A Congolese mine worker carries gold-rich earth out of a pit for water processing in 2009 in Chudja. Church leaders say telling companies they no longer have to disclose whether their firms use "conflict minerals" would be a bad move. (CNS/EPA)

A Congolese mine worker carries gold-rich earth out of a pit for water processing in 2009 in Chudja. Church leaders say telling companies they no longer have to disclose whether their firms use “conflict minerals” would be a bad move. (CNS/EPA)

By Jonathan Luxmoore
Catholic News Service

OXFORD, England (CNS) — Church leaders and organizations in Africa, Europe and the United States said it would be disastrous if U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order telling companies they no longer had to disclose whether their firms use “conflict minerals” from Congo.

Western firms have been accused of working with violent gangs in Congo to obtain minerals used for producing mobile phones, laptops and other consumer objects, and of allowing trade in resources to perpetuate human rights violations.

In the United States, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ International Policy Committee wrote the acting head of the National Security Council urging Trump not to suspend the rules related to Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act. Continue reading

Posted in U.S., World

Pope greets U.S. grass-roots groups, saying they help ‘communities thrive’

Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, poses for a photo Feb. 16 with Lira DeMoraes, a volunteer with the Merrimack Valley Project in Massachussetts at the start of the U.S. regional World Meeting of Popular Movements in Modesto, Calif. (CNS/Dennis Sadowski)

Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, poses for a photo Feb. 16 with Lira DeMoraes, a volunteer with the Merrimack Valley Project in Massachussetts at the start of the U.S. regional World Meeting of Popular Movements in Modesto, Calif. (CNS/Dennis Sadowski)

By Dennis Sadowski Catholic News Service

MODESTO, Calif. (CNS) — Pope Francis congratulated more than 600 representatives of grass-roots organizations for responding with mercy to society’s hurting people during the opening of the four-day U.S. regional World Meeting of Popular Movements.

In a letter to the assembly Feb. 16 read alternately in English and in Spanish, the pope said the work of the organizations and the people involved “make your communities thrive.”

Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, read the pope’s message in English. The letter encouraged wide-scale community organizing because it achieves social justice. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Counteract vitriol by toning it down, talking less, listening more, pope says

Pope Francis smiles as he receives gifts during a Feb. 17 meeting at Roma Tre University. Students presented him with olive oil produced from the university's trees and products from a farm they help run on land confiscated by the government in an anti-Mafia operation. (CNS/L'Osservatore Romano)

Pope Francis smiles as he receives gifts during a Feb. 17 meeting at Roma Tre University. Students presented him with olive oil produced from the university’s trees and products from a farm they help run on land confiscated by the government in an anti-Mafia operation. (CNS/L’Osservatore Romano)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) — Addressing the fear of immigrants, dissatisfaction with a “fluid economy” and the impatience and vitriol seen in politics and society, Pope Francis told Rome university students to practice a kind of “intellectual charity” that promotes dialogue and sees value in diversity.

“There are lots of remedies against violence,” but they must start first with one’s heart being open to hearing other people’s opinions and then talking things out with patience, he said in a 45-minute off-the-cuff talk.

“It necessary to tone it down a bit, to talk less and listen more,” he told hundreds of students, staff and their family members and friends during a visit Feb. 17 to Roma Tre University. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

USCCB leaders urge Trump to protect religious liberty

President Trump (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

President Trump (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholic Church leaders in a Feb. 16 statement said they were encouraged that President Donald Trump may be considering an executive order to protect religious freedom and said they would be grateful if he would move forward with the pledge that his administration would “do everything in its power to defend and protect religious liberty.”

“As Christians, our goal is to live and serve others as the Gospel asks. President Trump can ensure that we are not forced from the public square,” said the statement from committee chairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Bishop, advocates oppose Mississippi bill to outlaw sanctuary cities

A sign stands on a private property near the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Jacumba, Calif. (CNS photo/Mike Blake, Reuters)

A sign stands on a private property near the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Jacumba, Calif. (CNS photo/Mike Blake, Reuters)

By Maureen Smith Catholic News Service

JACKSON, Miss. (CNS) — A bill that would keep agencies, cities and college campuses in Mississippi from offering sanctuary to unauthorized immigrants would not keep communities safe and goes against the Christian tenet of caring for those in need, said Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz of Jackson.

He issued a statement Feb. 15 opposing S.B. 2710, also known as the “sanctuary cities” bill, which passed the state Senate in a 32-16 vote Feb. 9. The bill goes to the state House for consideration.

The measure would prohibit cities and institutions of higher learning from declaring themselves sanctuary cities. There are currently no sanctuary cities in the state, although the city of Jackson proposed such a declaration last year.

Continue reading

Posted in U.S., World