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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Jul-30-2013

By Catholic News Service

U.S.

Pope's remark on gays does not change church teaching, cardinal says

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, a July 30 guest on "CBS This Morning" to discuss the pope's impromptu news conference on a papal flight the previous day, stressed that Pope Francis "would be the first to say, my job isn't to change church teaching; my job is to present it as clearly as possible." Cardinal Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was asked to comment in particular on the pope's remark: "If a person is gay, seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge? They should not be marginalized. They are our brothers." That remark, the cardinal said, reflects "a gentle, merciful, understanding, compassionate" approach to church teaching which emphasizes "that while certain acts may be wrong, we would always love and respect the person and treat the person with dignity." He said the pope's words "may be something people find new and refreshing. I for one don't think it is and I hate to see previous popes caricatured as not having that."

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Church musician convention highlights liturgy constitution anniversary

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Most Americans will remember Nov. 22, 1963, as the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, but liturgists will note that date also as the day the Second Vatican Council approved the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. The effects of the constitution, promulgated Dec. 4, 1963, still are being felt today, and its golden anniversary was being celebrated by the National Association of Pastoral Musicians during its July 27-Aug. 2 convention in Washington. Keynote speaker Rita Ferrone, in her July 29 address, reminded the 2,500-plus convention attendees that the bishops at Vatican II put "full, conscious and active participation" in the liturgy "before all else." There is a tension to be recognized in carrying out Vatican II's mandate, said Ferrone, an author who has exercised liturgical ministry at the parish and diocesan level and who now lives in New York. That tension is between "the human and the divine," she noted, "being present in this world, yet not being at home in it." Yet "the marvel of it all is that God is present in the things of the earth," such as oil, water, bread, wine and music, Ferrone said. "Liturgy, after all, is a series of signs -- and it is transformational."

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Panelists discuss church's contribution to improvements in Cuba

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Through a series of efforts -- including the publication of two magazines, the creation of education and social service programs, and negotiations to release some prisoners -- the Catholic Church in Cuba has been instrumental in moving the country in new directions, said a panel of speakers July 29. In a forum hosted by the Brookings Institution, Orlando Marquez Hidalgo explained that the magazine, Palabra Nueva, of which he is editor and director, and its sister publication, the online magazine Espacio Laical, are the only forms of news media regularly available to their publisher, the Archdiocese of Havana. As such, they regularly write about a wide spectrum of topics, from religion to the economy, sports, everyday life and politics, he said. Another panelist observed that one of the most important accomplishments of the Cuban bishops has been to promote and validate Father Felix Varela, a candidate for sainthood, as an "eternal symbol of the nation." While such publications as Marquez's might seem unremarkable in the United States, a third panelist observed, they serve a valuable purpose in Cuba, where their existence is among "the clearest signs of renewal" in the communist country.

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Parish makes it a mission to spread faith, Jesus' love to neighborhood

SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass. (CNS) -- About 100 people gathered in a school parking lot in Southbridge on a recent Monday. They laughed, sang, talked, listened, ate -- and went to Mass. It was part of the Neighborhood Mission that Blessed John Paul II Parish is conducting at various sites throughout the summer. The mission is an evangelization effort for the Year of Faith, according to Father Peter J. Joyce, pastor. He said parishioner Severina Rios came up with the idea in response to Pope Francis' repeated calls for Catholics to get out of their churches and into the streets. "Through the mission we have seen some people, (who) are not regular goers to the church," associate pastor Father Nelson J. Rivera told The Catholic Free Press, newspaper of the Worcester Diocese. "Some, they don't stay, but they stop and listen for a while. A lot of young people are doing that. That's the idea, that they may know that the church is present." The idea is also "to claim those neighborhoods for God," he said, adding that drugs, stealing and violence are problems. "That was the motivation for the mission -- to go out and promote a culture of love."

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Ties that bind: CYO baseball friendships endure for Omaha Catholics

OMAHA, Neb. (CNS) -- Although he pitched and played first base on Catholic Youth Organization teams that won league championships in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Al Itallia said the wins and losses pale in comparison to the lifelong friendships forged among the ballplayers who took to the field. Itallia, 80, played with youth from St. Philomena Parish (now St. Frances Cabrini Parish) and St. Patrick Parish in Omaha, and once a month he joins more than a dozen men in their 70s and 80s from the neighborhood who meet at various local Italian restaurants and twice a year for a golf tournament. When they get together, topics range from family to sports and current events. But the CYO stories often come up, and most of the players are quick with a memory when asked. "That camaraderie is something you can't buy or put a price on," Itallia told The Catholic Voice, Omaha's archdiocesan newspaper. At times, the games attracted hundreds of people, including family members and other parishioners who cheered the teams.

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WORLD

At least 38 pilgrims killed in crash after visiting Padre Pio shrine

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- At least 38 pilgrims were killed on their way home from the Padre Pio shrine when their tour bus plunged off an elevated highway. Another 19 people were reported seriously injured, including passengers of nearby vehicles. Only 11 people were pulled alive from the wreckage, Vatican Radio and other news outlets reported. In a telegram, Pope Francis expressed his condolences and said his prayers were with everyone affected by the tragedy. He prayed those injured would recover soon and those in mourning would find some comfort through God. The accident occurred along a major highway in Irpinia, a mountainous region in Campania, in southern Italy, July 28. About 50 people were on the bus headed back to Naples after a three-day pilgrimage to Catholic shrines, including Pietralcina, birthplace of Padre Pio, when the vehicle skidded out of control, broke through a guardrail and plunged 100 feet. The cause of the accident was still unknown July 29, although officials said a piece of the bus's transmission was found less than a mile from the crash site, suggesting the vehicle was damaged in some way. The funerals for all 38 victims were to be held July 30 in the town of Pozzuoli.

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Syria's war creates havoc, priest's whereabouts unknown, nuncio says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The war in Syria is like a factory churning out nothing but death, destruction and suffering, said Archbishop Mario Zenari, Vatican nuncio to Syria. Even though the Vatican was unable to confirm July 30 news reports that a Jesuit priest had been kidnapped in Syria, the nuncio said hundreds of innocent people there find themselves abducted for political leverage or economic extortion. Kidnappings in Syria represent "a very, very painful wound that deeply harms the nation and the Syrian people," he said. Italian Jesuit Father Paolo Dall'Oglio, 59, who had spent more than 30 years promoting Muslim-Christian dialogue in Syria, was reportedly missing. News reports said acquaintances had been unable to reach him by phone, and Reuters reported that militants with links to al-Qaida kidnapped the priest July 29 while he was walking in the northern Syrian city of al-Raqqah. Archbishop Zenari said in an interview with Vatican Radio July 30 that sometimes the priest would inform him of his whereabouts, but that this time he had heard nothing. The Jesuit province in Italy told the Vatican press hall it was unable to confirm whether Father Dall'Oglio had been kidnapped.

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Returning to Rome, pope discusses plans for future trips

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- At the end of his first foreign trip, Pope Francis told reporters that it is good for a pope to travel and there are plans in the works for visits in Italy, to Jerusalem, to Asia, but nothing planned soon for his Argentine homeland. "I think papal trips are always good," he said July 28 during the flight back to Rome after a week in Brazil. The July 22-29 papal trip was good for Brazil "not just because of the pope's presence, but because for World Youth Day they mobilized and did so well that it will help the whole church," he said. As for future foreign trips, Pope Francis said there is "nothing definite-definite." What is definite, he said, are a Sept. 22 trip to Cagliari, Italy, to visit the shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria, the Marian title that led to the name of the pope's hometown, Buenos Aires, and an Oct. 4 trip to Assisi for the feast of St. Francis. He also said he hoped to make a one-day trip to northern Italy to visit his relatives with whom he speaks often by phone, but has not had an opportunity to visit since becoming pope in March.

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Ireland's pro-lifers vow to repeal new abortion law

DUBLIN (CNS) -- Irish pro-life campaigners vowed to work to repeal a new law that permits abortion in limited circumstances. President Michael D. Higgins signed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill July 30 after tense parliamentary debates during which several legislators resigned. A day earlier, the president exercised his constitutional prerogative by calling a meeting of the Council of State to advise on whether he should sign the law or refer it to the country's Supreme Court to test the constitutionality of the bill. However, a spokesman for the president confirmed that he signed the law July 30, just a day before he was legally obliged to either sign it or send it to the Supreme Court. The Pro-Life Campaign said the passage of the abortion bill into law "is a very sad day for our country." The law will permit abortions when there is a substantial risk to the life of the mother, including when a woman says the continuation of the pregnancy leads to suicidal thoughts. It would also provide for jail terms of up to 14 years for those performing abortions in circumstances other than permitted by the new law.

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PEOPLE

Maryland teachers head to Alaska to build partnerships, expand outreach

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- On Aug. 5, Carol Mackie Morris and Margaret Mackie plan to leave behind the comforts of home in Maryland to embark on a three-week journey to Alaska. During their trip, the sisters hope to develop partnerships, expand outreach and compare the spiritual beliefs of the native Alaskans to those of the Catholic faith. The women have more in common than their family ties and travel plans: The two also are art teachers at Catholic schools. Carol works at St. Michael School in Ridge, Md., in the Washington Archdiocese, while Margaret works at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Essex, Md., in the Baltimore Archdiocese. The duo hopes to learn more about the native Alaskan art culture and incorporate their newfound knowledge into their curriculums back home. They will focus on iconography, spirituality and nature, exploring these aspects in Anchorage and several smaller communities. "We are very excited to get a new perspective on art to bring back to our students from a part of our country that is so different from anywhere on the mainland," Carol said. They will record their activities with sketches, video recordings, photography and journal entries posted to a blog titled "Art Expedition: Morris and Mackie" on line at http://artcrossings.wordpress.com.

END


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