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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Oct-3-2013

By Catholic News Service


'Make joy your calling card,' bishop tells women at NCCW convention

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (CNS) -- Bishop James V. Johnston Jr., episcopal liaison to the National Council of Catholic Women, began his homily for the opening Mass of the organization's convention with an anecdote tied to its theme: "Be the Voice of the Catholic Woman: Confidence, Hope and Joy. A few nights ago I was driving and listening to a talk show on Catholic radio when a caller asked why Catholics don't show more joy," he told the gathering in Fort Lauderdale. "Joy is something you can't turn on or off like a light switch. Joy is a fruit that emerges from a source much deeper than from a pleasure. "When we understand that the Father notes and is aware of each tiny sparrow, then we can begin to live in hope and confidence and joy," said Bishop Johnston, who heads the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Mo. "You are already inclined this way, sisters in Christ," he added. "Continue to make joy your calling card. Radiate the joy that flows from hope and this confidence."

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Catholic University partners with Chinese human rights activist

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Chen Guangcheng, Chinese dissident and human rights activist, will be a visiting fellow at The Catholic University of America next year working on a book about human rights abuses in rural China. For the next three years, while at Catholic University's Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies in Washington, Chen also will be supported in his studies and human rights advocacy by the Witherspoon Institute, a think tank in Princeton, N.J., and the Lantos Foundation, a human rights organization in Concord, N.H. At the National Press Club in Washington Oct. 2, Chen told reporters through a translator that he is "at a new starting point" and planned to "make concerted efforts to defend the freedom of the Chinese people and move forward courageously to defend human dignity, and other universal values." Last April, Chen, a blind, self-trained lawyer, fled house arrest in China, where he had spent several years imprisoned for his legal work dealing with politically sensitive issues such as forced abortions and land seizures.

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Pope: Are 'justice' and 'solidarity' just words in a dictionary?

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Cold War has ended and the Berlin Wall has fallen, but war and the threat of war continue and migrants are still dying as they travel in search of safety and a better life, Pope Francis said. Addressing a conference marking the 50th anniversary of Blessed John XXIII's encyclical "Pacem in Terris" ("Peace on Earth"), Pope Francis asked whether "'justice' and 'solidarity' are just words in our dictionary or do we all work to make them a reality?" The world still has far to go, he said Oct. 3, as he offered prayers for an estimated 500 migrants whose boat from Africa sank off the Italian coast. As the pope was speaking, Italian authorities were searching for survivors; they said close to 150 migrants already had been rescued and 82 dead bodies had been recovered. The tragedy, which the pope described as "a disgrace," took place off the island of Lampedusa, which Pope Francis had visited July 8 after similar tragedies. He had tossed a wreath of white and yellow flowers into the Mediterranean Sea in memory of the estimated 20,000 African immigrants who have died in the past 25 years trying to build a new life in Europe.

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Change in approach results in vocations bump in England, Wales

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, England (CNS) -- Janet Hopper said that when she started as a novice at the Society of the Sacred Heart, she thought, "This is completely mad." She had never imagined herself as a religious. Growing up, she felt she was "too independent and mischievous." She liked soccer and music too much. But, when she met sisters from the Society of the Sacred Heart, she felt that she fit in. "Something clicked," she said. Hopper, 33, is one of three novices who joined the society in England and Wales last year. Before that, no one had joined for 15 years. The bump in interest illustrates a national trend. The number of people entering religious orders is at its highest level in England and Wales for 17 years. The figure has grown from 19 in 2004 to 64 last year. The increase does not seem to be matched in the rest of Western Europe. In France, for instance, the number of novices dropped by a third between 2004 and 2011. In Germany, over the same period, the number fell by a tenth.

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In interviews, Pope Francis crafts a new genre of papal language

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When Pope Benedict XVI answered a journalist's 2010 question about condom use by offering a nuanced reflection on the ethical complexities of a hypothetical case, his words led to a worldwide media sensation, a clarification by the Vatican spokesman, and a statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that the pope had not changed church teaching on contraception. Three years later, papal interviews are still making news. Pope Francis, who during his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires was known for avoiding the press, has given three wide-ranging interviews in two months, drawing headlines and heated discussion with frank statements on sexual and medical ethics, Christian dialogue with nonbelievers, and reform of the Vatican bureaucracy, among other topics. This time, however, the Vatican is letting the pope's words speak for themselves. "This is a genre to which we were not accustomed," Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Oct. 2, the day after Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari published his account of a conversation with the pope. "Let's take it for what it is, seeking to interpret it correctly."

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Pope, cardinal advisers looking at major overhaul of Roman Curia

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis and his international Council of Cardinals are laying out plans to completely overhaul the Roman Curia, underlining its role of "service to the universal church and the local churches," the Vatican spokesman said. As the pope and the eight cardinals he named to advise him were about to begin the final session of their Oct. 1-3 meeting, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the spokesman, said the role and responsibilities of the Vatican secretary of state, the revamping of the world Synod of Bishops, and the Vatican's attention to the role and responsibility of laity also were major themes of discussion. Father Lombardi said the group's agenda was partially dictated by the pope's own timetable. Pope Francis has named Archbishop Pietro Parolin to be his secretary of state and has given him an Oct. 15 start date, so it made sense to discuss how the pope and cardinals see his role in a renewed curia. Under the terms of Blessed John Paul II's constitution "Pastor Bonus," a 1988 reform of the curia, the Secretariat of State includes two sections: One section deals with foreign relations and the other deals with internal church matters. "Pastor Bonus" said the secretariat was to "foster relations" with other Curia offices and "coordinate their work."

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With new French convent, nuns hope for eucharistic adoration, 24/7

SAINT-LOUP-SUR-AUJON, France (CNS) -- The moment a monstrance bearing the Blessed Sacrament was fixed high over an altar in a convent church in a remote French valley, a nun stepped forward to start the process of eucharistic adoration -- one the sisters hope will continue day and night, week after week and year after year. Mother Marie Xavier McMonagle thus began the perpetual adoration of the "Tyburn Nuns," an order of enclosed contemplative Benedictine nuns established to worship the "eucharistic heart of Jesus." In so doing, she also closed a day of ceremonies to install the order's newest community, situated near Dijon, France. This community, the 12th to be established in less than a century, has eight members, each of whom will spend a minimum one hour a day in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. Sometimes they will be assisted by lay Catholics. A founding charism of the Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Montmartre is the unceasing eucharistic adoration, which continues round-the-clock when the community is large enough for its members to physically and mentally sustain such prayer.

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Author Tom Clancy dies at age 66; was supporter of Catholic education

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- Even after Tom Clancy became an international best-selling novelist whose fans included the likes of President Ronald Reagan, the Baltimore-born writer never forgot the role his hometown Catholic education played in giving him the tools to his success. "My Catholic education taught me the value of thinking for myself," Clancy said in a 1990 radio ad promoting Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Clancy, best known for works including "The Hunt for Red October" and "Clear and Present Danger," died Oct. 1 at age 66 after a brief illness at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. His death was confirmed Oct. 2 by his publisher, G.P. Putnam's Sons, but the cause of death has not been given. Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced. Clancy grew up in Baltimore and was a graduate of the former St. Matthew School in Northwood, Loyola Blakefield in Towson and what is now Loyola University Maryland. More than 100 million copies of his novels are in print and all 17 of them have reached No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list, including "Threat Vector," which was released last December. His upcoming book, "Command Authority," is set for publication Dec. 3.


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