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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS May-21-2014

By Catholic News Service


Rulings on same-sex marriage called 'mistake,' 'travesty of justice'

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- The 1996 Pennsylvania law that recognizes marriage between one man and one woman is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled May 20, clearing the way for same-sex marriage in the state. Reaction to the ruling in the Catholic community was swift and strong. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia in a statement called the decision by U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III to strike down Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act "a mistake with long-term, negative consequences." Gov. Tom Corbett has 30 days to file an appeal, which the archbishop said he hoped would happen. In the meantime, Pennsylvania officials began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. A day earlier, a federal judge in Oregon repealed that state's constitutional marriage amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. The Oregon Catholic Conference called it "a travesty of justice that marriage, as the foundation of society, received no defense in the U.S. District Court." Oregon officials prepared to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, after the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a bid by the National Organization for Marriage to stay the ruling.

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Pope says his Holy Land trip will be 'strictly religious'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Asking prayers for his May 24-26 trip to the Holy Land, Pope Francis said his visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories would be "strictly religious." At the end of his weekly general audience May 21, Pope Francis told an estimated 50,000 people in St. Peter's Square that he was about to make the trip. The first reason for going, he said, "is to meet my brother, Bartholomew," the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, to mark the 50th anniversary of the meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople. The meeting launched a new era of ecumenical cooperation and dialogue. "Peter and Andrew will meet once again, and this is very beautiful," the pope said. Pope Francis is considered the successor of the apostle Peter and Patriarch Bartholomew the successor of his brother, the apostle Andrew. The pope said the second reason for his trip is "to pray for peace in that land that suffers so much."

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Head of congregation for religious says dialogue is always best

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Anytime there are misunderstandings, errors or problems concerning religious orders, dialogue is the best way to deal with the situation, said the head of the Vatican office that oversees the world's religious orders. "At times there are things that either may not have been understood or are deviations, too, but which we haven't talked about and we have to talk about again with trust," said Brazilian Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. The cardinal's remarks were in response to a question about the nature of the Vatican's current rapport with religious sisters in light of recent "difficulties," particularly in reference to the U.S.-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which is undergoing a major reform ordered by the Vatican in 2012. Cardinal Aviz and Sister Carmen Sammut, president of the International Union of Superiors General, were speaking at a news conference May 20 to highlight how religious sisters around the world were mobilizing to prevent human trafficking and exploitation during the World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil June 12-July13.

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Destroying creation is destroying a gift of God, pope says at audience

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Polluting or destroying the environment is like telling God one does not like what he created and proclaimed to be good, Pope Francis said. The Bible says that after every stage of creation, God was pleased with what he had made, the pope said May 21 at his weekly general audience. "To destroy creation is to say to God, 'I don't like it.'" On the other hand, he said, safeguarding creation is safeguarding a gift of God. "This must be our attitude toward creation: safeguarding it. If not, if we destroy creation, creation will destroy us. Don't forget that!" Continuing a series of audience talks about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis said the gift of knowledge helps people see creation with God's eyes, recognizing its beauty and seeing it as a sign of God's love for men and women, who are the crown of his creation. "Creation is not a property that we can dominate at our pleasure nor does it belong to only a few," he said. "Creation is a gift, a marvelous gift God has given us to care for and use for the benefit of all with great respect and gratitude."

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In Lourdes, military chaplains find a sacred space for healing

LOURDES, France (CNS) -- Military chaplains are used to hitting the road and heading where the hurt is as they tour bases, camps and veterans clinics. But on a recent pilgrimage to Lourdes with wounded soldiers, a group of Catholic chaplains also found a sacred space for healing. The Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes "is a special place for Catholics and for anyone who has faith. It's a place where you can feel and experience prayer," said Msgr. Frank Pugliese, one of the chaplains on the pilgrimage. "I think this is truly a field hospital" where people experience inner spiritual healing as they reconnect with God and other people of faith, said the monsignor, who is the former vicar general of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services and a retired military chaplain who served the naval forces for 21 years. He is currently helping two parishes in San Diego. In Lourdes, "The healings that happen I think are amazing, not all of them physical," he said. "People have a sense of peace, of being loved, of being able to leave behind some of the baggage that they come with. And I think that's sometimes a more powerful healing than if someone throws away crutches," he said.

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Bishop McManus of Worcester to undergo surgery for prostate cancer

WORCESTER, Mass. (CNS) -- Bishop Robert J. McManus of Worcester announced in a letter to the priests of his diocese that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. According to a May 20 news release posted on the diocese's website, he will undergo surgery June 26 at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester. In the letter, he said he was grateful that his surgery can wait until then so he can "complete his pastoral duties" at this time of the year. Those duties include many confirmation liturgies, the May 31 ordination of deacons, the June 6 ordination of priests, and various college and high school commencement exercises and baccalaureate Masses. Also on his schedule is an annual gathering with the priests of the diocese in early June. The evening of May 20, he was in Webster for a visit by Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow to St. Joseph Basilica. On May 21, Bishop McManus was to preside over the dedication of the recently completed chapel in the new St. Vincent Cancer and Wellness Center in Worcester.

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Nigerian archbishop condemns twin bombings as setback for peace

LAGOS, Nigeria (CNS) -- Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos condemned twin bombings that claimed more than 100 lives in his city, saying they were setbacks to peace efforts. The explosions May 20 occurred within 30 minutes of each other at a bus terminal and adjacent market, killing 118 people and injuring 45, the National Emergency Management Agency reported. The bombings were the latest in a country already jittery over a series of similar attacks and kidnappings carried out by Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group with a somewhat undefined leadership and structure. No one claimed immediate credit for the Jos bombings. Archbishop Kaigama, president of the Nigerian bishops' conference, told reporters during a news conference that the prospects for peace seemed to improve in recent weeks. "Just two weeks ago, the Catholic Church did fundraising for its new cathedral, and Muslim leaders were not only there, but actually made donations," the archbishop said. "Because of the solidarity and the oneness that characterized the event, we concluded that peace had finally returned to Jos. So, this news is very disturbing, very retrogressive and quite sad," he added.

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For Peruvian-born artist, Holy Spirit source of all her inspiration

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (CNS) -- Some artists rely on muses for creativity. Then there is Clorinda Chavez Galdos Bell, who receives inspiration from the source of all inspiration -- the Holy Spirit. Bell relies heavily on her deeply rooted Catholic faith each time she picks up a brush to put paint to canvas. And that faith has never failed to inspire. A native of Cuzco, Peru, Bell has been plying her talent since age 11, when her father and brothers first noticed she had "the gift." Since that discovery, the 41-year-old artist who now lives and works in the Diocese of Knoxville, has worked to refine the skill needed to create works of art in the Cuzco style unique to Peru. In fact, Bell is recognized as one of the first women to master the almost strictly male Cuzco School of Religious Art style. Her creative efforts earned her a special showing recently at the Tennessee Arts Commission Gallery in Nashville. She also has had other exhibits, including at Atlanta's Eucharistic Congress, the Peruvian Consulate in Washington and Knoxville's Emporium Center as her particular style attracts public attention. "My inspiration for painting is God and the Virgin Mary. For a reason, God gave me this talent. And I feel called to paint these images," Bell told The East Tennessee Catholic, Knoxville's diocesan publication.


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