U.S. bishops speak at synod for the Amazon

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston and an unidentified priest arrive for a session of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican Oct. 15, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Synod of Bishops for the Amazon is not a “referendum” on priestly celibacy; it is looking for ways to provide for the sacramental life and formation of the people there, U.S. Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston said.

“Because one of the themes is the terrible shortage of priests in the Amazonia region, I was trying to stress that, if we want to have priests in that area, we are going to have to make sacrifices to have people who can promote vocations and accompany and train seminarians in their own milieu and their own languages,” he said he told synod participants.

The cardinal and Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego both were appointed by Pope Francis to be voting members of the synod, which was being held Oct. 6-27 at the Vatican.

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Posted in U.S., Vatican

Caritas works to help Syrians displaced by Turkish bombings

A shoe is seen amid broken glass at the site of a car bomb blast in Qamishli, Syria, Oct. 11, 2019. Church bells have been ringing in Qamishli and elsewhere in northeastern Syria, signaling the alarm to Christians and others of the ongoing Turkish military operation having a devastating humanitarian impact on civilians. (CNS photo/Rodi Said, Reuters)

By Dale Gavlak 
Catholic News Service

AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) — Church bells have been ringing in Qamishli and elsewhere in northeastern Syria, signaling the alarm to Christians and others of the ongoing Turkish military operation that is having a devastating humanitarian impact on civilians.

“Hundreds of thousands of people have escaped,” said Yerado Krikorian, communications assistant for the Catholic aid agency Caritas Syria, which is working around the clock to aid those displaced by Turkish bombing and shelling.

“They need water where they have fled, and so Caritas is distributing badly needed water bottles and other essentials to those displaced in shelters throughout the Hassakeh region,” Krikorian told Catholic News Service by telephone from Damascus.

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Posted in World

Jesus does not tolerate hypocrisy, pope says

Pope Francis gives the homily as he celebrates morning Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, at the Vatican Oct. 15, 2019. The pope, in his homily, said Christians must avoid hypocrisy by scrutinizing and acknowledging their own faults and sins. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Jesus enjoys unmasking hypocrisy, which is the work of the devil, Pope Francis said.

Christians, in fact, must learn to avoid hypocrisy by scrutinizing and acknowledging their own personal faults, failings and sins, he said Oct. 15 during morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

“A Christian who does not know how to accuse himself is not a good Christian,” he said.

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Posted in Vatican

El Paso bishop calls out racism but urges accused shooter’s life be spared

Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, shares a smile with a Honduran girl named Cesia as he walks and prays with a group of migrants at the Lerdo International Bridge in El Paso June 27, 2019. (CNS photo/Jose Luis Gonzalez, Reuters)

By Rhina Guidos 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — It’s a pastoral letter that pulls no punches, goes far into the past and continues up to the recent present of racism at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, released a pastoral letter Oct. 13, on the eve of the controversial holiday that Columbus Day has become, pointing to the church’s role in racism at the border, particularly among indigenous communities, describes the pain of Latinos in the El Paso area following a mass shooting in August, but also calls on authorities to spare the life of the accused perpetrator.

Invoking martyrs who include St. Oscar Romero, Blessed Stanley Rother and four Maryknoll women missionaries killed in El Salvador, Bishop Seitz said he wishes that, like them, “I may speak without fear when it is called for and help to give voice to those who have not been heard.”

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Posted in U.S.

Indigenous woman brings message from her elders to pope as church elder

Anitalia Pijachi, a member of the Ocaina Huitoto indigenous group from Colombia and an observer at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, is pictured Oct. 11, 2019, near the Vatican. She said she agreed to participate in the synod to carry a message from the elders of her people to the elder of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. (CNS photo/Barbara J. Fraser)

By Barbara J. Fraser 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Anitalia Pijachi, an indigenous woman from the Amazonian town of Leticia, Colombia, came to the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon bringing a message from the elders of her people to Pope Francis, an elder of the Catholic Church.

The first Europeans to arrive in the Amazon were “invaders,” she said. “They never asked permission of mother nature or of the people who lived there. They imposed the cross and the Bible. That caused a great deal of resentment,” and in some cases forced indigenous peoples from their territories.

But when the pope, during his 2018 visit to Peru, asked Amazonian people to tell the church how it should walk with them, “that was a question that asked permission,” she told Catholic News Service.

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Posted in Vatican, World

Experts offer advice to help people confront anxiety over gun violence

Patrick Crusius, 22, accused of killing 22 and injuring 25 others in the Aug. 3, 2019, mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, pleads not guilty during his Oct. 10 arraignment in El Paso. More than half of American adults consider mass shootings a latent threat, a Reuters/Ipsos survey in August discovered. Many respondents reported experiencing a sense of insecurity with increased levels of anxiety. (CNS photo/Briana Sanche pool via Reuters)

By Patricia Montana 
Catholic News Service

PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) — Firearm attacks have changed society in the United States as mass shootings have become more frequent and the public is forced to face the psychological consequences, often silently.

More than half of American adults consider mass shootings a latent threat, a Reuters/Ipsos survey in August discovered. Many respondents reported experiencing a sense of insecurity with increased levels of anxiety.

“This situation puts you on alert because you never know when or where the next massacre will happen. There is an imitation effect and it is happening very frequently,” one respondent said.

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Posted in U.S.

Vatican security chief resigns following leak of internal document

Pope Francis talks with Domenico Giani, his lead bodyguard and head of the Vatican police force, at the conclusion of a canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Oct. 13, 2019. The pope accepted Giani’s resignation Oct. 14, nearly two weeks after an internal security notice was leaked to the Italian press. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Domenico Giani, head of the Vatican police, nearly two weeks after an internal security notice was leaked to the Italian press.

The Vatican announced Oct. 14 that the pope accepted the resignation of the 57-year-old Vatican police chief who, although “bears no personal responsibility” for the leak, “tendered his resignation to the Holy Father out of love for the church and faithfulness to Peter’s successor.”

The pope accepted Giani’s resignation, and in a conversation with him, “expressed his appreciation to the commander for his gesture.”

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Posted in Vatican