100 years after Russian revolution, Christianity faces new challenges

A Russian Orthodox woman prays, gazing at an icon, in an Orthodox parish in St. Petersburg May 29. Orthodox Christianity has been on the rise in Russia since the fall of communism in 1991. (CNS/Robert Duncan)

A Russian Orthodox woman prays, gazing at an icon, in an Orthodox parish in St. Petersburg May 29. Orthodox Christianity has been on the rise in Russia since the fall of communism in 1991. (CNS/Robert Duncan)

By Robert Duncan
Catholic News Service

MOSCOW (CNS) — A few blocks from Moscow’s Lubyanka Building, which for decades served as the headquarters of the Soviet Union’s KGB security agency, the Russian Orthodox patriarch recently consecrated a church memorializing those martyred during communism’s reign.

“While we were in procession around the church, people were standing with portraits of those martyred and those condemned to death” by the communist regime, said Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who heads the church’s department for external affairs.

President Putin, who was a former KGB agent, as well as government officials and church leaders, were in attendance for the ceremony May 25.

Patriarch Kirill’s consecration of the Church of the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Orthodox Church was one of the ways his church is commemorating the centenary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, which ushered in the communist era and led to the persecution of Christians.

The 100th anniversary of the communist takeover of Russia coincides with the 100th anniversary of the final apparition of Our Lady of Fatima to three shepherd children in Portugal. The children said the lady “dressed in white” asked them for prayers and penance, otherwise Russia “will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the church.” Continue reading

Posted in World

Victims of Las Vegas shooting remembered at funeral Masses, vigils

A girl looks at a makeshift memorial for victims of the Oct. 1 mass shooting along the Las Vegas Strip. (CNS/Las Vegas Sun via Reuters)

A girl looks at a makeshift memorial for victims of the Oct. 1 mass shooting along the Las Vegas Strip. (CNS/Las Vegas Sun via Reuters)

By Carol Zimmermann
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Immediate makeshift memorials in Las Vegas to the 58 victims killed during the Oct. 1 outdoor country music concert are being replaced by memorial services, vigils and Catholic funerals at the victims’ hometowns across the country and in Canada.

Many of the services are taking place in California since 33 of the victims, more than half of those killed at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, were from the Golden State.

Bakersfield, California, two hours north of Los Angeles, was home to three victims of the shooting. A memorial service was held there Oct. 6 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church for Jack Beaton, a 54-year-old father of two who worked with a roofing company. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Sunday Scripture readings, Oct. 15, 2017: Take this call

The Catholic News Service column, "Speak to Me Lord," offers reflections on the Sunday Scripture readings. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

The Catholic News Service column “Speak to Me Lord” offers reflections on the Sunday Scripture readings. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

Oct. 15, Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

      Cycle A. Readings

      1) Is 25:6-10

      Psalm 23:1-6

      2) Phil 4:12-14, 19-20

      Gospel: Mt 22:1-14

 

By Kevin Perrotta
Catholic News Service

Kevin Perrotta writes for the Catholic News Service Scripture column, "Speak to Me Lord." (CNS photo/courtesy Kevin Perrotta)

Kevin Perrotta writes for the Catholic News Service Scripture column, “Speak to Me Lord.” (CNS photo/courtesy Kevin Perrotta)

This week’s readings move along smoothly, up to a point. Isaiah looks forward to God giving a wonderful feast for everyone. The psalmist sings of God as his good shepherd. St. Paul rejoices in being able to do everything in God who strengthens him. You couldn’t find a more comforting set of Bible texts.

Then we get to the Gospel.

Jesus tells a parable about a king who invites people to his son’s wedding reception. Some of them refuse to come. Astonishing!

Other invitees rough up the servants who deliver the invitation — and kill them. Incredible!

The king sends soldiers to execute the murderers and destroy their town. Not surprising, but shocking, all the same.

Finally, the king fills his banquet hall with homeless people. Unimaginable!

And that, Jesus says, is what the kingdom of heaven is like. Continue reading

Posted in "Speak to Me Lord", CNS columns

New saints inspire Christians to build peaceful world, bishop says

Banners of Spanish Blessed Faustino Miguez and the "Martyrs of Natal," Brazil, hang from the facade of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Oct. 13 in advance of an Oct. 15 canonization. Martyrs from Mexico and an Italian Capuchin priest also will be canonized by Pope Francis. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Banners of Spanish Blessed Faustino Miguez and the “Martyrs of Natal,” Brazil, hang from the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Oct. 13 in advance of an Oct. 15 canonization. Martyrs from Mexico and an Italian Capuchin priest also will be canonized by Pope Francis. (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The church’s newest saints represent a diverse group of people who offer encouragement and hope to Christians today through their example, a Brazilian bishop said.

Saints like the “Martyrs of Natal,” Brazil, offer a “new opportunity, hope and a renewal of faith” that can bring peace to a world battered by injustice, war and violence, Archbishop Jaime Vieira Rocha of Natal told journalists Oct. 13 during a press briefing.

“The grace of their canonization will certainly help create a society that is less vengeful, less violent, more fraternal,” and encourage Catholics to stand up “for the dignity of the people,” he said. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Vatican: Canada did not seek extradition for diplomat with porn charges

Msgr. Carlo Capella, the Vatican diplomat recalled from service at the Vatican nunciature in Washington after U.S. investigators suspected him of involvement in child pornography, is pictured at the Vatican in 2015. (CNS photo)

Msgr. Carlo Capella, the Vatican diplomat recalled from service at the Vatican nunciature in Washington after U.S. investigators suspected him of involvement in child pornography, is pictured at the Vatican in 2015. (CNS photo)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Canadian authorities did not request the extradition of a Vatican diplomat who has been charged by police in Canada of accessing, possessing and distributing child pornography, a Vatican spokesman said.

“No request for extradition has come from Canada and no trial has been set at the Vatican” for the diplomat, Msgr. Carlo Capella, who had been working in the United States, said Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman, in a written statement Oct. 12.

The Vatican investigation “requires international collaboration, and it has not ended yet,” he added. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Find ways to keep migrant families together, Vatican official says

A woman holds a child during an immigration rally near the U.S. Capitol in Washington Sept. 26. The Vatican observer to U.N. agencies in Geneva said overly strict immigration laws do not discourage migration, and more must be done to keep migrant families together. (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)

A woman holds a child during an immigration rally near the U.S. Capitol in Washington Sept. 26. The Vatican observer to U.N. agencies in Geneva said overly strict immigration laws do not discourage migration, and more must be done to keep migrant families together. (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Overly strict immigration laws do not discourage migration, and more must be done to keep migrant families together, a Vatican representative said.

“The migrant family is a crucial component of our globalized world, but in too many countries the presence of the families of migrant workers is often legally impeded,” said Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, Vatican observer to U.N. agencies in Geneva.

“If we truly wish to leave no one behind, we must devise frameworks that help keep families together, including migrant families. The human vacuum left behind when a father or a mother migrates alone is a stark reminder of the toughness of the choice to migrate and of the fundamental right to be able to stay at home in dignity,” he said. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Catholic group will accept Scouts’ decision to allow girls to join

Cub Scouts participate in the presentation of the gifts during a Mass marking Scout Sunday at St. Joseph Church in Kings Park, N.Y., Feb. 5. The Boy Scouts of America's board of directors unanimously agreed Oct. 11 to allow girls into the Cub Scout program next year and let older girls become Eagle Scouts. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Cub Scouts participate in the presentation of the gifts during a Mass marking Scout Sunday at St. Joseph Church in Kings Park, N.Y., Feb. 5. The Boy Scouts of America’s board of directors unanimously agreed Oct. 11 to allow girls into the Cub Scout program next year and let older girls become Eagle Scouts. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

(Updated Oct. 16)

By Catholic News Service

By Catholic News Service

IRVING, Texas (CNS) — The leaders of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, which has its headquarters in the Dallas suburb of Irving, said they “accept and work with the new membership policy of the Boy Scouts of America” to admit girls.

“We were informed this morning” of the policy change, said an Oct. 11 statement by George Sparks, the national chairman of the group, and the committee’s national chaplain, Father Kevin Smith, a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York.

“Once we have had more time to review the policy and a chance to consult our national membership, we will be able to comment further about how this new policy will reflect changes in the makeup of Catholic-chartered units,” they said.

Sparks told Catholic News Service in an Oct. 13 telephone interview that a member of the Scouts’ executive board came to the Catholic Committee’s meeting shortly after the board vote “and brought us up to speed on it.” Continue reading

Posted in U.S.