In Amazon document, pope calls for action rooted in conversion of heart

Juscelina Silva Batista, 54, stands in front of her house in the middle of the Amazon River near Santarem, Brazil, April 11, 2019. The Vatican released Pope Francis’ postsynodal apostolic exhortation, “Querida Amazonia” (Beloved Amazonia), Feb. 12, 2020. (CNS Photo/Paul Jeffrey)

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Like so many of Pope Francis’ teachings and major documents, his apostolic exhortation on the Amazon is built on a call for conversion — a new way of seeing, thinking and doing.

“We need to feel outrage,” he wrote, underlining his concern that the world has become too indifferent, too numb or too much in denial about what is happening to the environment, the world and the people in it.

In his apostolic exhortation “Querida Amazonia” (Beloved Amazonia), Pope Francis urged people to recognize how much injustice and cruelty has taken place in the Amazon region, and he pleaded for attention to “current forms of human exploitation, abuse and killing.”

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Posted in Vatican, World

Pope shares his ‘dreams’ for Amazon region, its Catholic community

Pope Francis accepts a plant during the offertory as he celebrates the concluding Mass of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican Oct. 27, 2019. The Vatican published the pope’s apostolic exhortation on the synod, “Querida Amazonia,” Feb. 12. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis said he dreams of an Amazon region where the rights of the poor and indigenous are respected, local cultures are preserved, nature is protected, and the Catholic Church is present and active with “Amazonian features.”

In his apostolic exhortation “Querida Amazonia” (Beloved Amazonia), Pope Francis made no mention of the idea of ordaining married men to the priesthood so that far-flung Catholic communities would have regular access to the Eucharist.

Instead, he said “every effort should be made to ensure that the Amazonian people do not lack this food of new life and the sacrament of forgiveness.”

“A specific and courageous response is required of the church” to meet the needs of Catholics, he said, without dictating what that response would be. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Glenmary Father John Rausch, advocate for Appalachian people, dies at 75

Glenmary Father John Rausch is seen in this 2014 file photo at his Appalachian home near Stanton, Ky. He died Feb. 9, 2020, at age 75. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

By Dennis Sadowski 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Glenmary Father John Rausch recognized early in his time as a missionary in Appalachia that people were facing severe environmental and economic challenges and devoted his ministry to seeking solutions and calling attention to their predicament.

For 53 years, Father Rausch of Stanton, Kentucky, who died Feb. 9 at age 75, traveled around the region, speaking, writing, organizing and praying in a lifelong effort to carry out the biblical call to justice, friends and colleagues recalled.

“He was very dedicated to justice,” Father Dan Dorsey, Glenmary’s president, told Catholic News Service Feb. 11. “Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, seemed to sum up his own ministry and passion as far as care of the earth. He had just an incredible love of Appalachia and its people.”

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Posted in U.S.

At Mass in Havana, Cardinal Dolan highlights church’s unifying teachings

New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan blesses an elder at the Hogar Santovenia in Havana Feb. 10, 2020. (CNS photo/Rhina Guidos)

By Rhina Guidos 
Catholic News Service

HAVANA (CNS) — Though there’s a great distance from New York to Cuba, sharing the Eucharist with other Catholics on the island is a great reminder of the bonds of faith and love and what the church can build even among people who are different, New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan said Feb. 10.

“It is very clear to us, the visitors, that we are at home here,” he said during his first Mass in the Cuban capital of Havana.

“We are specially at home when we are at the family table,” the cardinal said, referring to the celebration of the Eucharist during a homily at the chapel of Hogar Santovenia, a center where members of the Catholic Church, including women religious, care for the elderly in Havana.

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Posted in U.S., World

Knights of Columbus celebrate 100 years in Rome

Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson of the Knights of Columbus prepares to speak at a news conference in Rome Feb. 11, 2020. The news conference was held to highlight the work of the Knights at the Vatican and in Rome as they mark the 100th anniversary of their active presence in the Eternal City. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) — Less than 40 years after its humble beginnings in New Haven, Connecticut, the Knights of Columbus was invited by Pope Benedict XV to establish a permanent presence in Rome.

The Knights celebrated the 100th anniversary of their charitable work in the Eternal City with an audience with Pope Francis Feb. 10 and a press event Feb. 11, reflecting on the fraternal organization’s past achievements and ongoing projects.

Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson told reporters that the Knights had a temporary presence in Rome During World War I when it set up and ran a hospitality center for U.S. troops at the Hotel Minerva.

At the time, he said, it was the only charitable organization for U.S. troops that did not segregate according to race and provided “racially integrated” services for soldiers, decades before segregation was abolished.

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Posted in U.S., Vatican

Pope to health workers: Uphold ‘the truest human right, the right to life’

Nurses attend to a patient in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen, Dec. 23, 2019. In Jesus, the sick “will find strength to face all the worries and questions that assail you during this ‘dark night’ of body and soul,” Pope Francis said in a message for the Feb. 11 celebration of World Day of the Sick. (CNS photo/Khaled Abdullah, Reuters)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Health care professionals always must “promote the dignity and life of each person and reject any compromise in the direction of euthanasia, assisted suicide or suppression of life, even in the case of terminal illness,” Pope Francis said.

“Life is sacred and belongs to God,” the pope said, “hence it is inviolable, and no one can claim the right to dispose of it freely.”

Pope Francis addressed health care professionals in his annual message for the celebration of World Day of the Sick, which is marked Feb. 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The text of the message was released Jan. 3 by the Vatican.

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Posted in U.S.

Bishop: Single-issue politicking ‘distorts call to authentic discipleship’

Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego speaks at the University of San Diego Feb. 6, 2020. (CNS photo/Ryan Blystone, courtesy University of San Diego)

By Catholic News Service

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego, in a Feb. 6 speech at the University of San Diego, said “the drive to label a single issue preeminent” in the 2020 election “distorts the call to authentic discipleship in voting rather than advancing it.”

Bishop McElroy called both abortion and the environment “core life issues in Catholic teaching.”

“The death toll from abortion is more immediate,” he said, “but the long-term death toll from unchecked climate change is larger and threatens the very future of humanity.”

He added, “There is no mandate in universal Catholic social teaching that gives a categorical priority to either of these issues as uniquely determinative of the common good.”

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Posted in U.S.