In light of faith: Three traits young people crave from the church

(A series of columns focused on and written by millennials and young adults)

BAYER GUEST COLUMNISTBy Michael Bayer
Catholic News Service

This fall, bishops from every corner of the globe will gather in Rome to discuss the church’s ministry to youth and young adults. Pope Francis has called on the leadership of the church not simply to talk about young people but to listen directly to them. From my own ministerial experience, I would highlight three traits that young people desperately crave from the church.

— Authenticity: Young people have access to more information than our ancestors dreamed possible. We are inundated by ceaseless digital interactions and immersed in a sea of competing ideas. We are bombarded by fake news and pressured to believe that the friends and celebrities we follow on Instagram truly are living their best life 24/7. Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns, focus on millennials

Abuse expert: Crisis is call to new vision of priesthood, accountability

Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a professor of psychology and president of the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, is pictured in a 2015 photo. Father Zollner has been on the frontlines of advocating for survivors of clerical sexual abuse and developing detailed programs to prevent abuse. He said the crisis unfolding again in the United States is a summons to a new way of envisioning the church and taking responsibility for it. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A Jesuit priest who has been on the frontline of advocating for survivors of clerical sexual abuse and developing detailed programs to prevent abuse said the crisis unfolding, again, in the United States is a summons to a new way of envisioning the church and taking responsibility for it.

“I am not surprised” by the new reports of abuse, “I do not think it will stop soon and, at the same time, I think it is necessary and should be seen in the framework of evolving a more consistent practice of accountability,” said Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a professor of psychology and president of the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

“I know that people are deeply angry and they are losing their trust — this is understandable. That is normal, humanly speaking,” he told Catholic News Service Aug. 7 as newspapers were filled with information and commentary about the case of retired Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, misconduct in a Nebraska seminary and the pending release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Catholic Church offers to mediate Zimbabwe election dispute

Demonstrators protest Aug. 4 following election results in Zimbabwe, outside the Zimbabwe embassy in London. (CNS photo/Toby Melville, Reuters)

By Bronwen Dachs
Catholic News Service

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) — The church in Zimbabwe said it is prepared to mediate between government and opposition leaders after six people were killed in violence that followed a disputed presidential election.

“We have offered to mediate any election disputes as well as broader concerns,” Father Frederick Chiromba, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference, told Catholic News Service Aug. 6 in a telephone interview from Harare.

With their parish and other structures, Zimbabwe’s churches would be well positioned to lead the activities of the national peace and reconciliation process that began early this year, he said.

Continue reading

Posted in World

Baltimore history, culture have a place at Knights of Columbus convention

Otto Heck, state delegate for Washington, D.C., holds his newborn son John Henry during the opening Mass Aug. 7 of the 136th Supreme Convention of the Knight of Columbus at the Baltimore Convention Center. (CNS photo/Kevin J. Parks, Catholic Review)

By Paul McMullen
Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE (CNS) — The chalice on the center of the altar was given by the pope to the third archbishop of Baltimore nearly two centuries ago.

The local welcome crew wore vests that included the outline of a Chesapeake blue crab.

Visitors to the 136th annual Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus got both boisterous and subtle reminders of their location the morning of Aug. 7, when Archbishop William E. Lori, their supreme chaplain, was the principal celebrant for the gathering’s opening Mass. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Pope thanks Chilean bishops for steps taken to address abuse scandal

A statue of Mary is seen as Chilean bishops attend a meeting July 30 in iPunta de Tralca on the sexual abuse scandal in the Chilean church. The July 30 – Aug. 3 meeting was organized to examine the causes of the ongoing abuse crisis and to establish national guidelines for dioceses on how to handle abuse cases. (CNS photo/Alberto Valdes, EPA)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — After the bishops of Chile issued a formal apology for failing to listen to clerical abuse victims and drew up national guidelines for responding to abuse allegations, Pope Francis sent them a handwritten letter of thanks.

“I am struck by the work of reflection, discernment and the decisions you have made,” the pope wrote in the letter dated Aug. 5 and posted on the website of the Chilean bishops’ conference.

Addressed to Bishop Santiago Silva Retamales, the military ordinary and conference president, Pope Francis’ letter praised the decisions as “realistic and concrete.” Continue reading

Posted in Vatican, World

Indonesia’s Lombok hit by another powerful quake; pope sends prayers

A woman walks past debris from a collapsed wall Aug. 6 following an earthquake on Lombok, Indonesia’s popular tourist island. At least 91 people have been confirmed dead after the magnitude 7 earthquake Aug. 5, a week after another powerful quake killed more than a dozen people. (CNS photo/Ahmad Subaidi, Antara Foto via Reuters)

By Catholic News Service

JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNS) — At least 91 people have been confirmed dead after a magnitude 7 earthquake struck Indonesia’s Lombok Island on Aug. 5 a week after another powerful quake killed more than a dozen people.

The country’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency said more than 200 people were injured in the latest quake, which also jolted the neighboring tourist island of Bali, damaged thousands of buildings and forced thousands of people to flee their homes, ucanews.com reported.

Pope Francis sent words of condolences and solidarity to Indonesia authorities Aug. 6 through Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican, World

Maryland parish helps Puerto Ricans still rebuilding from hurricane

Beth Hood, a member of St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, Md., helps repair a house in Maunabo, Puerto Rico, July 27. (CNS photo/Wallice J. de la Vega)

By Wallice J. de la Vega
Catholic News Service

MAUNABO, Puerto Rico (CNS) — Although Puerto Rico’s post-hurricanes coverage has disappeared from the daily news cycles, Catholic workers have not forgotten the fact that thousands in this Caribbean island are still in dire need of a helping hand.

Eighteen volunteers from St. Francis Builds, a program based in St. Camillus Catholic Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, recently demonstrated its continued commitment in Latin America. Its initial mission was to Guatemala in 2006.

St. Francis Builds brought its volunteers to Maunabo July 22-29. It is one of several southeastern towns that received Hurricane Maria’s head-on impact last Sept. 20. Municipal authorities estimate 90 percent of Maunabo’s wooden structures were damaged, many of them destroyed, in this mostly rural town of just over 11,000 residents. Continue reading

Posted in U.S., World