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My People

Vol. 30, Issue 7, July 2017

"If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land." — 2 Chronicles 7:14

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Our Lady of Fatima Pic

Our Lady of Fatima

Fatima Offers Hope

May 13 marked the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima and her feast day. Pope Francis traveled to Portugal where he canonized Francisco Marto and Jacinta Marto. The Pope's homily follows:

" '[There] appeared in heaven a woman clothed with the sun.' So the seer of Patmos tells us in the Book of Revelation (12:1), adding that she was about to give birth to a son. Then, in the Gospel, we hear Jesus say to His disciple, 'Here is your mother' (Jn 19:27). We have a Mother! 'So beautiful a Lady,' as the seers of Fatima said to one another as they returned home on that blessed day of May 13 a hundred years ago. That evening, Jacinta could not restrain herself and told the secret to her mother: 'Today I saw Our Lady. They had seen the Mother of Heaven. Many others sought to share that vision, but... they did not see her. The Virgin Mother did not come here so that we could see her. We will have all eternity for that, provided, of course, that we go to heaven.

"Our Lady foretold, and warned us about, a way of life that is godless and indeed profanes God in his creatures. Such a life - frequently proposed and imposed - risks leading to hell. Mary came to remind us that God's light dwells within us and protects us, for, as we heard in the first reading, 'the child [of the woman] was snatched away and taken to God' (Rev 12:5). In Lucia's account, the three chosen children found themselves surrounded by God's light as it radiated from Our Lady. She enveloped them in the mantle of Light that God had given her. According to the belief and experience of many pilgrims, if not of all, Fatima is more than anything this mantle of Light that protects us, here as in almost no other place on earth. We need but take refuge under the protection of the Virgin Mary and to ask her, as the Salve Regina teaches: 'show unto us... Jesus.'

"Dear pilgrims, we have a Mother, we have a Mother! Clinging to her like children, we live in the hope that rests on Jesus. As we heard in the second reading, 'those who receive the abundance of the grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ' (Rom 5:17). When Jesus ascended to heaven, He brought to the Heavenly Father our humanity, which He assumed in the womb of the Virgin Mary and will never forsake. Like an anchor, let us fix our hope on that humanity, seated in heaven at the right hand of the Father (cf. Eph 2:6). May this hope guide our lives! It is a hope that sustains us always, to our dying breath.

"Confirmed in this hope, we have gathered here to give thanks for the countless graces bestowed over these past hundred years. All of them passed beneath the mantle of light that Our Lady has spread over the four corners of the earth, beginning with this land of Portugal, so rich in hope. We can take as our examples Saint Francisco and Saint Jacinta, whom the Virgin Mary introduced into the immense ocean of God's light and taught to adore Him. That was the source of their strength in overcoming opposition and suffering. God's presence became constant in their lives, as is evident from their insistent prayers for sinners and their desire to remain ever near 'the hidden Jesus' in the tabernacle.

"In her Memoirs (III, 6), Sister Lucia quotes Jacinta who had just been granted a vision: 'Do you not see all those streets, all those paths and fields full of people crying out for food, yet have nothing to eat? And the Holy Father in a church, praying before the Immaculate Heart of Mary? And all those people praying with him?' Thank you, brothers and sisters, for being here with me! I could not fail to come here to venerate the Virgin Mary and to entrust to her all her sons and daughters. Under her mantle they are not lost; from her embrace will come the hope and the peace that they require, and that I implore for all my brothers and sisters in baptism and in our human family, especially the sick and the disabled, prisoners and the unemployed, the poor and the abandoned. Dear brothers and sisters, let us pray to God with the hope that others will hear us; and let us speak to others with the certainty that God will help us.

"Indeed, God created us to be a source of hope for others, a true and attainable hope, in accordance with each person's state of life. In 'asking' and 'demanding' of each of us the fulfillment of the duties of our proper state (Letters of Sister Lucia, February 28, 1943), God effects a general mobilization against the indifference that chills the heart and worsens our myopia. We do not want to be a stillborn hope! Life can survive only because of the generosity of other lives. 'Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit' (Jn 12:24). The Lord, who always goes before us, said this and did this. Whenever we experience the cross, He has already experienced it before us. We do not mount the cross to find Jesus. Instead it was He Who, in his self-abasement, descended even to the cross, in order to find us, to dispel the darkness of evil within us, and to bring us back to the light.

"With Mary's protection, may we be for our world sentinels of the dawn, contemplating the true face of Jesus the Saviour, resplendent at Easter. Thus may we rediscover the young and beautiful face of the Church, which shines forth when she is missionary, welcoming, free, faithful, poor in means and rich in love."

Celebrating The Charismatic Renewal

Charismatics celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Catholic charismatic renewal with Pope Francis at a Pentecost Vigil of Prayer on June 3. A portion of Pope Francis' address follows:

"Brothers and sisters, thank you for the witness you have given here today, thank you! It has helped us all, myself included... all of us!

"... We have assembled here from 120 countries throughout the world, to celebrate the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit in the Church that occurred fifty years ago and started... an institution? No. An organization? No. A flood of grace, the flood of grace of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. A work that was born... Catholic? No. It was born ecumenical! It was born ecumenical because it is the Holy Spirit who creates unity, and the same Spirit who granted the inspiration for this. It is important to read the works of Cardinal Suenens on this: it is very important!

"The coming of the Holy Spirit changes fearful men, enclosed behind shut doors, into courageous witnesses of Jesus. Peter, who had denied Jesus three times, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, proclaims: 'Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified' (Acts 2:36). This is the profession of faith of every Christian! God has made both Lord and Christ that Jesus who was crucified. Are you all agreed on this profession of faith? It is ours, the same for all of us!

"The scripture goes on to say: 'All who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need' (2:44-45). They sold them and they helped the poor. Some of them tried to be devious - we think of Ananias and Sapphira (there are always a few of them) - but all the believers, the great majority, helped one another. 'Day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved' (2:46-47). The community kept growing and the Spirit was there to inspire this...

"Today we have chosen to assemble here, in this place ... because here, during the persecutions, Christians were martyred for the entertainment of onlookers. Today there are more martyrs than then! Today there are more martyrs, Christians. Those who kill Christians do not ask them first: Are you Orthodox? Are you Catholic? Are you Evangelical? Are you Lutheran? Are you Calvinist? No. They ask if they are Christians, and when they say yes, they immediately slit their throats. Today there are more martyrs than in the early times. This is the ecumenism of blood. The witness of our martyrs today brings us together. In different parts of the world, Christian blood is being shed! Today Christian unity is more urgent than ever, Christians united by the power of the Holy Spirit, in prayer and in activity on behalf of the most vulnerable. To walk together, to work together, to love one another, and together to seek to explain our differences, to come to agreement, but as we keep walking! If we stop walking, we will never come to agreement. So it is, because the Spirit wants us to keep walking.

"Fifty years of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. A flood of grace of the Spirit! Why a flood of grace? Because it has no founder, no bylaws, no structure of governance. Clearly it has given rise to many expressions that, surely, are human works inspired by the Spirit, with various charisms, and all at the service of the Church. But before this flood of grace one cannot erect dikes, or put the Holy Spirit in a cage!

"Fifty years have gone by. At this age, our strength begins to decline. It is the halfway point of life - in my country, we call it el cincuentazo -, when our wrinkles get deeper. Even if you cover them up, they are still there! Grey hairs start to show and we begin to forget things....

"Fifty years is a good time in life to stop and reflect. It is the time for reflection: the halfway point of life. And I would add this: it is the time to press forward with greater strength, leaving behind the accumulated dust of time, giving thanks for what we have received and looking ahead to new things, with trust in the working of the Holy Spirit!

"Pentecost gives birth to the Church. The Holy Spirit, the promise of the Father, of which Jesus spoke, is the One who makes the Church: the bride of the Book of Revelation, a single bride! ...

"The most precious gift that all of us have received is Baptism. And now the Spirit is leading us on this journey of conversion sweeping across the entire Christian world. It is one more reason why the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a privileged place for pursuing the path to unity!

"This flood of grace is for the whole Church, not just for some, and none of us is the 'master' and the others servants. No. We are all servants of this flood of grace.

"Along with this experience, you constantly remind the Church of the power of prayer of praise. Praise that is the prayer of gratitude and thanksgiving for God's gracious love. Perhaps some people do not like this way of praying, but surely it is fully a part of the biblical tradition...

"Exultation, happiness, joy that is the fruit of the working of the Holy Spirit! Either a Christian experiences joy in his or her heart, or something is wrong. The joy of proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel!

"Jesus in the synagogue of Nazareth reads this passage of Isaiah: 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord' (Lk 4:18-19; cf. Is 61:1-2). Good News, joyful news: do not forget this. Joyful news: the Christian message is always joyful.

"The third Malines document, 'Charismatic Renewal and Social Action,' written by Cardinal Suenens and Dom Helder Camara, states clearly that the charismatic renewal is also service to society, to humanity.

"Baptism in the Holy Spirit, praise, social action. The three things are inseparably linked. I can give deep thanks, but if I do not help those in need, it is not enough. 'There was not a needy person among them,' says the Book of Acts (4:34).

"We will be judged, not on our praise but on what we have done for Jesus. 'Lord, when did we do this to You? When you did it for one of these little ones, you did it to Me' (cf. Mt 25:39-40).

"... My wish for you is that this will be a time of reflection, a time for remembering your origins. A time too, to leave behind everything motivated by self-concern. May it become a desire instead to listen to, and joyfully accept, the working of the Holy Spirit, who blows where and how He wills!

"... Thank you, Catholic Charismatic Renewal, for what you have given to the Church in these fifty years! The Church counts on you, on your fidelity to God's word, on your readiness to serve, and on your testimony of lives transformed by the Holy Spirit!

"To share baptism in the Holy Spirit with everyone in the Church, to praise the Lord unceasingly, to walk together with Christians of different Churches and Ecclesial Communities in prayer and activity on behalf of those in greatest need, to serve the poor and the sick. This is what the Church and the Pope expect from you, Catholic Charismatic Renewal, but also from everyone here: all of you who have become part of this flood of grace."

Fatima Message Requires Response

Pilgrims gathered at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal on May 12. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, celebrated a vigil Mass on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions.

His homily follows:

"... With joy and gratitude, we have gathered at this Shrine that commemorates the apparitions of Our Lady to the three shepherd children. We join the throngs of pilgrims who in these hundred years have come here to show their trust in the Mother of Heaven. We are celebrating this Eucharist in honor of her Immaculate Heart. In the first reading, we heard the people exclaim: 'You averted our ruin, walking in the straight path before our God' (Jdt 13:20). These words of praise and gratitude were addressed by the city of Bethulia to Judith, their champion, whom 'the Lord God, who created the heavens and the earth... guided to cut off the head of the leader of our enemies' (Jdt 13:18). But they take on their full meaning in the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Thanks to her offspring - Christ the Lord - she was able to 'crush the head' (cf. Gen 3:15) of the 'ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world.' He, in turn, 'was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus' (Rev 12:9.17).

"As a Mother concerned for the trials of her children, Mary appeared here with a message of consolation and hope for a world at war and for the Church in travail: 'In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph' (Apparition of July, 1917). In other words: 'Trust! In the end, love and peace will triumph, because God's mercy is stronger than the power of evil. What seems impossible to men is possible to God.' Our Lady also asks us to join in this battle of her divine Son, particularly by the daily recitation of the Rosary for peace in the world. Even though everything depends on God and His grace, we still need to act as if everything depended on us, by asking the Virgin Mary that the hearts of individuals, the homes of families, the history of peoples, and the fraternal soul of all humanity be consecrated to her and placed under her protection and guidance. She wants people who entrust themselves to her! 'If they do what I tell you, many souls will be saved and have peace' (Apparition of July, 1917). In the end, what will win the war is a heart: the Heart of the Mother will obtain the victory, at the head of millions of her sons and daughters.

"This evening, we offer thanks and praise to the Most Holy Trinity for the commitment of so many men and women to this mission of peace entrusted to the Virgin Mother. From East to West, the love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary has won a place in the heart of peoples as a source of hope and consolation. The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council met in order to renew the face of the Church, and presented itself essentially as the Council of love. The faithful, the bishops, the Pope did not fail to heed the requests of the Mother of God and of man: the whole world was consecrated to her. Everywhere groups and communities of believers continue to grow. Awakening from yesterday's apathy, they now work to show to the world the true face of Christianity.

" 'If they do what I tell you, they will have peace.' A hundred years after the apparitions, it is true that, as Pope Francis has observed, 'for many people today, peace appears as a blessing to be taken for granted, for all intents an acquired right to which not much thought is given, yet for all too many others, peace remains merely a distant dream. Millions of people still live in the midst of senseless conflicts. Even in places once considered safe, a general sense of fear is felt. We are frequently overwhelmed by images of death, by the pain of innocent men, women, and children who plead for help and consolation, by the grief of those mourning the loss of a dear one due to hatred and violence, and by the drama of refugees fleeing war and migrants meeting tragic deaths' (Address to the Diplomatic Corps, January 9, 2017). In the midst of great concern and uncertainty about the future, what does Fatima ask of us? Perseverance in the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, shown daily by the recitation of the Rosary. And what if, despite our prayers, wars continue? Even though immediate results may not be evident, let us persevere in prayer. Prayer is never useless. Sooner or later, it will bear fruit. Prayer is capital in the hands of God; He turns it to good account in His own times and ways, which are very different from our own.

"Our responsorial psalm was the Canticle of the Magnificat, with its sharp contrast between the 'great' story of the nations and their conflicts, the story of the great and powerful with its own chronology and geography of power, and the 'little' history of the poor, the humble, and the powerless. The latter are called to work for peace with another force, with other seemingly useless or ineffective means, such as conversion, reparation, and trust. They are asked to halt the advance of evil by plunging into the ocean of divine Love as resistance - not surrender - to the banality and the inevitability of evil.

"What must we do? Let me explain with an example (cf. Eloy Bueno de la Fuente, A Mensagem de Fatima. A misericordia de Deus: o triunfo do amor nos dramas da historia, 22014, 235-237). If someone passes us a counterfeit banknote, a spontaneous and even logical reaction could be to pass it on to somebody else. This shows us how ready we are to fall into a perverse logic that takes over and makes us spread evil. If I act according to this logic, my situation changes. I was an innocent victim when I received the counterfeit banknote, a victim of the evil of others. But once I decide to pass the counterfeit notes to someone else, I am innocent no longer. I have been won over by the seductive power of evil, creating a new victim. I have become an agent of evil, now responsible and guilty. The alternative is to halt the advance of evil, but that happens only by paying a price, by keeping the counterfeit banknote and thus freeing others from the advance of evil.

"This is the only reaction that can stop evil and prevail over it. Human beings win this victory when they are capable of a sacrifice that becomes reparation. Christ carries it out, thus showing that His way of loving is mercy. This excess of love can be seen in the cross of Jesus. He takes on the full weight of the hatred and violence that rain down on Him, without responding with insults or threatening revenge. Instead, He forgives, and thus shows that there is a greater love. Only He can do this, taking on - as it were - the 'counterfeit banknote.' His death was a victory over the evil unleashed by his tormentors, which all of us are. Jesus, crucified and risen, is our peace and reconciliation (cf. Eph 2:14; 2 Cor 5:18).

" 'You averted our ruin, walking in the straight path before our God.' Let us pray at this evening vigil as a great pilgrim people, following in the footsteps of the risen Jesus, enlightening one another and helping one another to advance, based on our faith in Christ Jesus. The Fathers of the Church tell us that Mary conceived Jesus first in faith and then in the flesh, when she said 'Yes' to God's call to her through the angel. But what took place in a singular way in the Virgin Mother takes place spiritually in us whenever we hear the word of God and put it into practice, as the Gospel says (cf. Lk 11:28). Imitating Mary's generosity and courage, let us present our bodies to Jesus so that He can continue to dwell in our midst. Let us offer Him our hands to caress the little ones and the poor, our feet to draw near to our brothers and sisters, our arms to shore up the weak and to work in the Lord's vineyard, our minds to think and plan in the light of the Gospel, and above all, our hearts to love and make decisions in accordance with God's will.

"In this way, may the Virgin Mother shape us, pressing us to her Immaculate Heart, as she did with Lucia, Blessed Francisco, and Blessed Jacinta. On this centenary of the apparitions, with gratitude for the gift which the event, the message and the shrine of Fatima have been throughout the past century, let us join our voices to that of the Virgin Mary: 'My soul magnifies the Lord... for He has looked with favor on the lowliness of His servant... His mercy is for those who fear Him from generation to generation' (Lk 1:46-50)."

Book Explores Secret Archives

by Michael Halm

The first chapter of Maria Luisa Ambrosini's The Secret Archives of the Vatican sets the mood of the book, the exploration of "The Caves of the Time-Stream." She says, "These ancient papers, these writings of men dead for centuries, but still alive in their words and thoughts, make history seem no longer history but humanity," with issues like abortion, contraception, fake news, religious rights, sainthood.

Some documents publicly displayed for the archives centennial in 1981 were the excommunication of Luther, Henry VIII divorce petition, letters from both Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, from Mary the Queen of Scots, from Empress Helena Wong's letter, and Alexander VI's splitting of the New World.

Ambrosini begins at the beginning with the Ignatian exercise, "It may be that a fisherman's basket of papers was the very first of the papal secret archives." It is now twenty-five miles of bookshelves.

What comes through is a miracle as great as the survival of the Jewish people is that anything of the archives have survived. "Between Charlemagne's time and that of Innocent III in the late Twelfth Century" she says, "only a few important documents have survived."

There is a chapter on Napoleon's aspiration for a "world library." Librarian Gaetano Martini writes, "First to be packed were the volumes of bulls. Fr. Altieri and I were in charge of supervising this operation, and our eyes melted in tears. Many documents were specially requested at this time: the bull of excommunication against Napoleon, the trial of the Templars, the process of Galieo." With Napoleon's defeat many "unimportant" papers were sold by weight.

"Some documents, or copies of documents, were fortunate enough to be elsewhere than in Rome, like the letters of Pope Leo that had been sent to the provincial cities. Others ceased to be archives and became literature or history, like the writing of Augustine or Ambrose."

Sts. Flavius Clemens, brother of Emperor Vespasian, and his wife Flavia Domitilla donated what is now St. Clement's to the Church before they were martyred. It was where the list of Christians was hidden during the persecutions. It also preserved the story of Marcia, mistress of Emperor Commudus, inserted names on the list of pardons.

Ambrosini retells the story of the beautiful Pelagia who was converted by Bishop Nonnus of Edessa about 450 and lived the rest of her life on the Mount of Olives as Pelagius. She writes of the modern-day impediments to the canonization of the saintly Padre Pio or Pope John XXIII.

In the archives is Gregory II's letter to iconoclasts, "Go to the elementary schools and tell the children that you are the persecutor of images. They will throw their little tables at your head, and what you will not learn from the scholars you will learn from the ignorant."

Benedict VIII told Phillip the Fair, "There are two swords, one spiritual and one secular; the secular sword is to be used for the church, the spiritual one by the church. One is in the hands of the priest, the other in the hands of kings and warriors, but is to be used according to the priest's orders." The king promptly imprisoned the pope, who was freed after three days by relatives. A witness write, "Everyone shouted, 'Long live the Holy Father!' Everyone was able to talk to the pope as to another poorman."

Innocent VIII wrote against witches in 1484, "They have made to perish, suffocate, and die the deliveries of many women. They have kept men from impregnating and women from conceiving, so that men cannot give the due of marriage to their wives, nor wives to their husbands."

From the archives we learn that Pius IV made his nephew Charles Borromeo cardinal at 21, advocated Communion under both species and marriage for ex-Lutheran priests.

Soon after the printing press, Pius V wrote "against those who write news, disclose secrets, and write of the faults of others, all mixed with many lies." His successor, Gregory XIII, wrote, "There has recently appeared a new sect of men illicitly curious, who write every kind of information of which they have knowledge, or which they make up out of their own libidinous imaginations, mixing the false, the true and the uncertain with no restraint whatsoever."

Lord, Teach Us To Pray

by Leiann Spontaneo

Catholicism is not a private affair... It is a way of life. There are a select few afraid of making even the sign of the cross in public... Even better reason to do it! Maybe a fallen away Catholic will be reminded by a gesture or a struggling person comforted.

"Everyone who acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my heavenly father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before My heavenly Father."

Nervous? Perhaps pray with others or simply pray silently. We will not be punished for our less-than-eloquent prayers either. God loves us with an uncompromising love.

Focus on talking to God and forget about trying to move or impress everyone else. Your prayer will be sincere and God (whose opinion is the only one that matters on this subject) will be pleased.

Remember, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Lord, teach us to pray... In this case ... Publically.

Light to the Nations

(A Christian Perspective on World News)

moral principles for health care

WASHINGTON - As the U.S. Senate begins to discuss health care reform, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, and Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin provided moral principles to help guide policymakers in their deliberations.

In a letter sent on June 1, the Chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stressed the "grave obligations" that Senators have "when it comes to policy that affects health care." While commending the bill passed by the House of Representatives, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), for its protections for unborn children, the Bishops emphasized the "many serious flaws" in the AHCA, including unacceptable changes to Medicaid.

"The Catholic Church remains committed to ensuring the fundamental right to medical care, a right which is in keeping with the God-given dignity of every person, and the corresponding obligation as a country to provide for this right," the Chairmen wrote. "[T]hose without a strong voice in the process must not bear the brunt of attempts to cut costs."

Cardinal Dolan is chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Lori chairs the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, Bishop Dewane heads the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop Vasquez is the chairman of the Committee on Migration.

The Bishops outlined key principles for Senators such as universal access, respect for life, true affordability, the need for high quality and comprehensive medical care, and conscience protections.

If the Senate takes up the House bill as a starting point, the letter urges that lawmakers "must retain the positive elements of the bill and remedy its grave deficiencies." Specifically, the Chairmen called on the Senate to: reject dramatic changes to Medicaid; retain the AHCA's life protections; increase the level of tax assistance, especially for low-income and older people; retain the existing cap on costs of plans for the elderly; protect immigrants; and add conscience protections, among other things.

The full letter to Congress can be found at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/upload/Senate-Principles-letter-Health-Care-Reform-2017-06-01.pdf

(Source: USCCB press release)

broadening of exemption encouraged

WASHINGTON - Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, has issued an initial response to the apparent draft interim final regulations that were recently leaked, pertaining to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring health insurance coverage of sterilization, contraception, and drugs and devices that may cause abortions:

"While they have yet to be formally issued and will require close study upon publication, the leaked regulations provide encouraging news. If issued, these regulations would appropriately broaden the existing exemption to a wider range of stakeholders with religious or moral objections to the mandated coverage-not just houses of worship. This not only would eliminate an unwarranted governmental division of our religious community 'between our houses of worship and our great ministries of service to our neighbors,' but would also lift the government-imposed burden on our ministries 'to violate their own teachings within their very own institutions.' United for Religious Freedom (2012).

Relief like this is years overdue and would be most welcomed. Regulations like these reflect common sense, and what had been the consistent practice of the federal government for decades to provide strong conscience protection in the area of health care. We look forward to the final version of the regulations with hope that they will remain strong. At that time, we will analyze those regulations more carefully and comment on them more formally. Throughout, our goal will remain to protect both the conscience of individuals and our mission of sharing the Gospel and serving the poor and vulnerable through our ministries."

This HHS mandate was first announced in 2011, triggering dozens of lawsuits, including by the Little Sisters of the Poor.

(Source: USCCB press release)

bishops address paris agreement

WASHINGTON - President Donald J. Trump announced June 1 that the United States will not honor the Paris agreement on climate change. The United States and China, the two largest carbon emitters, and 195 other nations, signed the agreement that was ratified in November 2016. The Paris agreement establishes that nations must reduce their carbon dioxide emissions in order to keep global temperatures well below a two-degree Celsius increase in relation to pre-industrial levels.

In the following statement, Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, stresses that, although the Paris agreement is not the only possible mechanism for addressing global carbon mitigation, the lack of a current viable alternative is a serious concern.

Full statement follows:

"The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), along with Pope Francis and the entire Catholic Church, have consistently upheld the Paris agreement as an important international mechanism to promote environmental stewardship and encourage climate change mitigation. The President's decision not to honor the U.S. commitment to the Paris agreement is deeply troubling.

The Scriptures affirm the value of caring for creation and caring for each other in solidarity. The Paris agreement is an international accord that promotes these values. President Trump's decision will harm the people of the United States and the world, especially the poorest, most vulnerable communities. The impacts of climate change are already being experienced in sea level rise, glacial melts, intensified storms, and more frequent droughts. I can only hope that the President will propose concrete ways to address global climate change and promote environmental stewardship."

The USCCB has voiced support for prudent action and dialogue on climate change since its 2001 statement: "Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good". In a letter to Congress in 2015, the U.S. Bishops, along with the presidents of Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services, encouraged the United States to sign the Paris agreement. They have since reiterated their support on several occasions. Pope Francis and the Holy See have also consistently voiced support for the Paris agreement.

(Source: USCCB press release)

Edge To Edge

Edge to Edge

Pray The News

Because we are sons and daughters of God, saved by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do not merely read the news but make the news. We direct the course of world events by faith expressed in action and intercession. Please pray for the stories covered in this paper. Clip out this intercessory list and make it part of your daily prayer.

  • We pray that the message of Fatima will be heeded.
  • We pray in thanksgiving for the charismatic renewal and that it will faithfully follow Jesus and His church.
  • We pray that the United States will be "one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.
  • We pray that we will turn to God in repentance.
  • We pray that we will be peacemakers and work tirelessly for peace.
  • We pray for an end to war and violence.
  • We pray for the victory of the civilization of love and life over the culture of death.
  • We pray for the success of the Bible Institute.
  • We pray that the Bible Institute will lead to many conversions, and to growth in the Christian life.

The cost of this publication is a donation. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit what amount He would have you contribute.

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