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August 1, 2015

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my people, vol. 28, issue 8

My People


Pope Francis (credit: InterMirifica.net)

New Encyclical Is Important Work

(Editor's note: This report was provided by Vatican Information Service.)

Vatican City (VIS) - On July 2, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin spoke at the high-level conference "People and planet first: the imperative to change course" (Rome, Augustinianum, July 2-3), organized by the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace" and CIDSE, an international network of Catholic non-governmental development organizations.

The theme of the Cardinal's address was "The Importance of the Encyclical Laudato si' for the Church and the World, in the Light of Major Political Events in 2015 and Beyond." Three key United Nations conferences are scheduled to take place in the second half of 2015: the "Third International Conference on Financing for Development," (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 13 to 16); the "United Nations Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda," (New York, U.S.A., September 25 to 27); and the "Twenty-First Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations framework Convention on Climate Change" or "COP21" (Paris, France, November 30 to December 11), for the purpose of adopting a new agreement on climate change. Cardinal Parolin affirmed that "the Encyclical will have a certain impact on these events, but its breadth and depth go well beyond its context in time."

The Secretary of State's discourse focused on three sectors to help understand of "Laudato si' " - the international sphere, the national and local sphere, and the sphere of the Church - emphasizing the two pressing requirements relevant to all three, namely "redirecting our steps" and promoting a "culture of care."

In the international framework, he said, there is a need for "an ever greater recognition that 'everything is connected' and that the environment, the earth, and the climate are 'a shared inheritance, whose fruits are meant to benefit everyone.' They are a common and collective good, belonging to all and meant for all, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone.' Recognizing these truths is not, however, a foregone conclusion. It calls for a firm commitment to develop an authentic ethics of international relations, one that is genuinely capable of facing up to a variety of issues, such as commercial imbalances, and foreign and ecological debt, which are denounced in the Encyclical."

"Unfortunately, what has prevented the international community from assuming this perspective can be summed up in the following observations of the Pope: its 'failure of conscience and responsibility' and the consequent 'meagre awareness of its own limitations.' We live, however, in a context where it is possible to 'leave behind the modern myth of unlimited material progress ... [and] to devise intelligent ways of directing, developing, and limiting our power;' 'we have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology; we can put it at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral.' " The Cardinal remarked, "more than once I have had occasion to emphasize how the technological and operative base for promoting such progress is already available or within our reach. We must seize this great opportunity, given the real human capacity to initiate and forge ahead on a genuinely and properly virtuous course, one that irrigates the soil of economic and technological innovation, cultivating three interrelated objectives: to help human dignity flourish; to help eradicate poverty; and to help counter environmental decay."

"The forces at work in the international sphere are not sufficient on their own, however, but must also be focused by a clear national stimulus, according to the principle of subsidiarity. And here we enter into the second area of our reflection, that of national and local action. Laudato si' shows us that we can do much in this regard, and it offers some examples, such as: 'modifying consumption, developing an economy of waste disposal, and recycling ... [the improvement of] agriculture in poorer regions ... through investment in rural infrastructures, a better organization of local [and] national markets, systems of irrigation, and the development of techniques of sustainable agriculture,' the promotion of a 'circular model of production,' a clear response to the wasting of food, and the acceleration of an 'energy transition.' " He added, "unfortunately, 'there are too many special interests, and economic interests too easily end up trumping the common good and manipulating information so that their own plans will not be affected.' "

The final area considered by the Secretary of State was the Catholic Church, who "finds nourishment in the example of St. Francis who, as indicated from the very opening pages of the Encyclical, 'lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature, and with himself. He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace."

He concluded, "Pope Francis states once again that 'the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics,' but seems to be the bearer of the need to question the meaning and purpose of all human activity. What is well-known by now is the Encyclical's call for us to reflect on 'what kind of world we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up.' The answer which the Pope offers to this question is quite revealing: 'When we ask ourselves what kind of world we want to leave behind, we think in the first place of its general direction, its meaning and its values... . It is no longer enough, then, simply to state that we should be concerned for future generations. We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity."

World Needs Change Of Course

(Editor's note: This report was provided by Vatican Information Service.)

Vatican City (VIS) - This morning (July 1) a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the Conference "People and planet first: the imperative to change course" (Rome, Augustinianum, July 2-3) organized by the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace" and CIDSE, an international network of Catholic non-governmental development organizations.

The speakers at the conference were Cardinal Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace;" Naomi Klein, writer; Ottmar Edenhofer, co-president of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Climate Change (IPCC), and Bernd Nilles, secretary general of Cooperation Internationale pour le Developmental et la Solidarite (International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity).

Cardinal Turkson emphasized that the title of the conference, which focuses on climate change, clearly indicates the aim to be pursued: "people and planet, not one or the other, not one at the expense of the other." He noted that in his recent Encyclical "Laudato si'," the Pope proposes an integral ecology that respects its human and social dimensions, and shows that climate change is one of the main challenges facing humanity in our times, also highlighting that the climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. "Yet the costs of climate change are being borne by those least responsible for it and least able to adapt to it - the poor. Overall, climate change is a global problem with a spectrum of serious implications: environmental, social, economic, and political." In "Laudato si'," the Pope also laments the failure of past global summits on the environment, and launches an urgent appeal for enforceable international agreements to stop climate change.

In this respect, as Cardinal Turkson observes, the COP21 Conference held in Paris from November 30 to December 11, 2015 will be crucial in identifying strong solutions to the problem of climate change. The Sustainable Development Goals are also relevant in this context, and coincide in various aspects with the points made by Pope Francis in his Encyclical. "For example, the 13th proposed goal will express the imperative to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Related goals include: make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable; ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns; conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development; protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat decertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss."

"These goals, similar to important points made in 'Laudato si'," await the pledges and the will of the whole world community during the 70th United Nations General Assembly beginning in mid-September 2015. Yet the single biggest obstacle to the imperative to change course is not economic, scientific, or even technological, but rather within our minds and hearts. The same mindset which stands in the way of making radical decisions to reverse the trend of global warming also stands in the way of achieving the goal of eliminating poverty. A more responsible overall approach is needed to deal with both problems: the reduction of pollution and the development of poorer countries and regions... . The political dimension needs to re-establish democratic control over the economy and finance, that is, over the basic choices made by human societies. This is the path the entire human family is on, the one which leads through New York to Paris and beyond," concluded the prelate.

Naomi Klein affirmed that what Pope Francis writes in "Laudato si' " "is not only a teaching for the Catholic world but for 'every person living on this planet.' And I can say that as a secular Jewish feminist who was rather surprised to be invited to the Vatican, it certainly spoke to me."

"In a world where profit is consistently put before both people and the planet, climate economics has everything to do with ethics and morality. Because if we agree that endangering life on earth is a moral crisis, then it is incumbent on us to act like it. That does not mean gambling the future on the boom and bust cycles of the market. It means policies that directly regulate how much carbon can be extracted from the earth. It means policies that will get us to 100 per cent renewable energy in two or three decades - not by the end of the century. And it means allocating common, shared resources - like the atmosphere - on the basis of justice and equity, not winners-take-all."

Therefore, "a new kind of climate movement is fast emerging. It is based on the most courageous truth expressed in the encyclical: that our current economic system is both fuelling the climate crisis and actively preventing us from taking the necessary actions to avert it. A movement based on the knowledge that if we don't want runaway climate change, then we need system change. And because our current system is also fuelling ever widening inequality, we have a chance, in rising to the climate challenge, to solve multiple, overlapping crises at once. In short, we can shift to a more stable climate and fairer economy at the same time."

"This growing understanding is why you are seeing some surprising and even unlikely alliances. Like, for instance, me at the Vatican. Like trade unions, Indigenous, faith, and green groups working more closely together than ever before. Inside these coalitions, we do not agree on everything. But we understand that the stakes are so high, time is so short and the task is so large that we cannot afford to allow those differences to divide us. When 400,000 people marched for climate justice in New York last September, the slogan was 'To change everything, we need everyone.' Everyone includes political leaders, of course. But having attended many meetings with social movements about the COP summit in Paris, I can report this: there is zero tolerance for yet another failure being dressed up as a success for the cameras. If the deal fails to bring about immediate emission reductions while providing real and substantive support for poor countries, then it will be declared a failure. As it should be."

"What we must always remember is that it's not too late to veer off the dangerous road we are on, the one that is leading us towards 4 degrees of warming," emphasized Naomi Klein. "Indeed we could still keep warming below 1.5 degrees if we made it our top collective priority. It would be difficult, to be sure. As difficult as the rationing and industrial conversions that were once made in wartime. As ambitious as the anti-poverty and public works programs launched in the aftermath of the Great Depression and the Second World War. But difficult is not the same as impossible. And giving up in the face of a task that could save countless and lives prevent so much suffering - simply because it is difficult, costly and requires sacrifice from those of us who can most afford to make do with less - is not pragmatism. It is surrender of the most cowardly kind. And there is no cost-benefit analysis in the world that is capable of justifying it."

Increased Tourism Offers Opportunities

(Editor's note: This report was provided by Vatican Information Service.)

"In ... faith, we can console one another, knowing that the Lord has conquered death once and for all. Our loved ones are not lost in the darkness of nothing: hope assures us that they are in the good and strong hands of God." - Pope Francis

Vatican City (VIS) - "One billion tourists, one billion opportunities" is the title of the Message for World Tourism Day 2015 (September 27), published by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. The Message, dated June 24, was signed by Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio and Bishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, respectively president and secretary of the dicastery.

The document, as its title indicates, focuses on the opportunities and challenges that the great increase in tourism represents for contemporary society and notes that the concept of the "tourist" is increasingly being substituted by that of the "traveller," who does not merely visit a place but rather, in a sense, becomes an integral part of it. In the light of Pope Francis' Encyclical "Laudato si'," the Message highlights that the tourism sector, by promoting appreciation of natural and cultural wealth, can promote their conservation or, paradoxically, their destruction. The Message finally invites the transformation of travel into "an existential experience."

"It was 2012 when the symbolic barrier of one billion international tourist arrivals was surpassed. Now the numbers continue to grow so much that the forecasts estimate a new threshold of two billion will be reached in 2030. To this data even higher figures related to local tourism must be added.

For World Tourism Day we want to concentrate on the opportunities and challenges raised by these statistics, and for this we make the theme proposed by the World Tourism Organization our own: 'One billion tourists, one billion opportunities.'

This growth launches a challenge to all the sectors involved in this global phenomenon: tourists, businesses, governments, and local communities and, of course, the Church too. The billion tourists should necessarily be considered above all in their billion opportunities.

This message is being made public a few days after the presentation of Pope Francis' Encyclical Laudato si' dedicated to care for our common home. We need to take this text into great consideration because it offers important guidelines to follow in our attention to the world of tourism.

We are in a phase of change in which the way of moving is changing and consequently the experience of travelling as well. Those who go to countries different from their own do so with the more or less conscious desire to reawaken the most hidden part of themselves through encounter, sharing, and confrontation. More and more, a tourist is in search of direct contact with what is different in its extra-ordinariness.

By now the classic concept of a 'tourist' is fading while that of a 'traveller' has become stronger: that is, someone who does not limit himself to visiting a place but in some way becomes an integral part of it. The 'citizen of the world' is born: no longer to see but to belong, not to look around but to experience, no longer to analyse but to take part in, and not without respect for what and whom he encounters.

In his latest Encyclical, Pope Francis invites us to approach nature with 'openness to awe and wonder' and to speak 'the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world'. This is the right approach to adopt with regard to the places and peoples we visit. This is the road to seizing a billion opportunities and making them bear even more fruits.

The businesses in this sector are the first ones who should be committed to achieving the common good. The responsibilities of companies is great, also in the tourist area, and to take advantage of the billion opportunities they need to be aware of this. The final objective should not be profit as much as offering travellers accessible roads to achieving the experience they are looking for. And businesses have to do this with respect for people and the environment. It is important not to lose awareness of people's faces. Tourists cannot be reduced only to a statistic or a source of revenue. Forms of tourist business need to be implemented that are studied with and for individuals and invest in individuals and substantiability so as to offer work opportunities in respect for our common home.

At the same time, governments have to guarantee respect for the laws and create new ones that can protect the dignity of individuals, communities, and the territory. A resolute attitude is essential. Also in the tourist area, the civil authorities of the different countries need to have shared strategies to create globalized socio-economic networks in favor of local communities and travellers in order to take positive advantage of the billion opportunities offered by the interaction.

From this viewpoint, also the local communities are called to open up their borders to welcome those who come from other countries moved by a thirst for knowledge, a unique occasion for reciprocal enrichment and common growth. Giving hospitality enables the environmental, social, and cultural potentialities to bear fruit, to create new jobs, to develop one's identity, and to bring out the value of the territory. A billion opportunities for progress, especially for countries that are still developing. To increase tourism, especially in its most responsible forms, makes it possible to head towards the future strong with one's specificity, history, and culture. Generating income and promoting the specific heritage can reawaken that sense of pride and self-esteem useful for strengthening the host communities' dignity, but care is always needed to not betray the territory, traditions, and identity in favor of the tourists. It is in the local communities where there can grow 'a greater sense of responsibility, a strong sense of community, a readiness to protect others, a spirit of creativity, and a deep love for the land. They are also concerned about what they will eventually leave to their children and grandchildren.'

One billion tourists, if well received, can become an important source of well-being and sustainable development for the entire planet. Moreover, the globalization of tourism leads to the rise of an individual and collective civic sense. Each traveller, by adopting a more correct criterion for moving around the world, becomes an active part in safeguarding the earth. One individual's effort multiplied by a billion becomes a great revolution.

On a voyage, a desire for authenticity is also hidden which is realized in the spontaneity of relations and getting involved in the communities visited. The need is growing to get away from the virtual, which is so capable of creating distances and impersonal acquaintances, and to rediscover the genuineness of an encounter with others. The economy of sharing can also build a network through which humanity and fraternity increase and can generate a fair exchange of goods and services.

Tourism also represents a billion opportunities for the Church's evangelizing mission. 'Nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts'. First of all, it is important for the Church to accompany Catholics with liturgical and formative proposals. She should also illuminate those who during the experience of travelling open their hearts and ask themselves questions and in this way make a real first proclamation of the Gospel. It is essential for the Church to go forth and be close to travellers in order to offer an appropriate and individual answer to their inner search. By opening her heart to others, the Church makes a more authentic encounter with God possible. With this goal, hospitality by the parish communities and the religious formation of tourist personnel should be enhanced.

The Church's task is also to educate to living free time. The Holy Father reminds us that 'Christian spirituality incorporates the value of relaxation and festivity. We tend to demean contemplative rest as something unproductive and unnecessary, but this is to do away with the very thing which is most important about work: its meaning. We are called to include in our work a dimension of receptivity and gratuity, which is quite different from mere inactivity.'

Moreover, we should not forget Pope Francis' convocation to celebrate the Holy Year of Mercy. We have to ask ourselves how the pastoral care of tourism and pilgrimages can be an area to 'experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope.' A particular sign of this jubilee time will undoubtedly be the pilgrimage.

Faithful to her mission and starting from the conviction that 'we also evangelize when we attempt to confront the various challenges which can arise,' the Church cooperates in making tourism a means for the development of peoples, especially the most disadvantaged ones, and setting in motion simple but effective projects. However, the Church and institutions should always be vigilant to prevent a billion opportunities from becoming a billion dangers by cooperating in the safeguard of personal dignity, workers' rights, cultural identity, respect for the environment, and so on.

One billion opportunities also for the environment: 'The entire material universe speaks of God's love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God.' Between tourism and the environment there is a close interdependency. The tourist sector, by taking advantage of the natural and cultural riches, can promote their conservation or, paradoxically, their destruction. In this relationship, the Encyclical Laudato si' appears to be a good travelling companion.

Many times we pretend we do not see the problem. 'Such evasiveness serves as a license to carrying on with our present lifestyles and models of production and consumption.' By acting not as masters but with 'responsible stewardship,' each one has his or her obligations that must be made concrete in precise actions that range from specific, coordinated legislation down to simple everyday actions, passing through appropriate educational programs and sustainable and respectful tourist projects. Everything has its importance, but a change in lifestyles and attitudes is necessary and surely more important. 'Christian spirituality proposes a growth marked by moderation and the capacity to be happy with little.'

The tourism sector can be an opportunity, indeed, one billion opportunities for building roads to peace too. Encounter, exchange, and sharing favor harmony and understanding.

There are one billion occasions to transform a voyage into an existential experience. One billion possibilities to become the makers of a better world, aware of the riches contained in every traveller's suitcase. One billion tourists, one billion opportunities to become 'instruments of God our Father, so that our planet might be what he desired when he created it and correspond with his plan for peace, beauty and fullness.' "

Catholic Answers Addresses Gender Issues

by Michael Halm

With the national legalization of gay marriage replacing "bride" and "groom" with "spouse 1" and "spouse 2," "father" and "mother" with "parent 1" and "parent 2," and by extrapolation "spouse 3" and "parent 3" etc., Catholic Answers is answering questions on the ever more confusing subject of gender.

Trent Horn recently responded to the question, "What does it mean to be a man or woman?" He rephrases it as, "What is the difference between a gender-non-conforming man (a biological male who enjoys looking and acting like a woman but wants to be called a man) and a transgender woman (a biological male who enjoys looking and acting like a woman and wants to be called a woman)?" Then he continues, "If the only difference is the terms themselves, then modern gender ideology' is guilty of eviscerating the concepts of male and female of any objective meaning beyond what I want to be called.' "

In answer to the question of the Intersex, those with indeterminate sex at birth, Horn admits this "requires unique pastoral and medical considerations." He adds, "I understand there are conditions, such as hermaphroditism or Turner and Klinefelter syndromes, where sex determination is not exact. However, cases where determining someone's sex is difficult do not obviate the vast number of cases where people's sex is clear and it is their mental states that are disordered with reality."

In 2013 Gender Identity Disorder was reclassified as Gender Dysphoria by the American Psychiatric Association. Their recommended treatment now is to physically change the person's anatomy in order to match the sex they identify as. The Catechism of the Catholic Church's warning against body mutilation (CCC2297) would apply here as well. So too would Christ's own words, "There are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it." (Mt 19:12)

Pope Francis has spoken out on "gender ideology" recently when visiting Puerto Rico. "The complementarity of man and woman," he said, "the summit of divine creation - is being questioned by what is called gender ideology' in the name of a society that is freer and more just."

"The differences between man and woman are not of the order of opposition or subordination, but rather of communion and generation," he said, and "without mutual commitment, neither of the two will be able to understand the other in depth."

Previously Pope Francis elaborated, "The biblical story [of Adam and Eve], with the grand symbolic fresco of the earthly paradise and original sin, precisely tells us that the communion with God is reflected in the communion of the human couple and the loss of trust in the Heavenly Father generates division and conflict between man and woman. To solve their relationship problems, man and the woman should instead talk more, listen more, know more, [and] love each other more. They must treat each other with respect and cooperate with friendship."

Austrian Bishop Andreas Laun says that Pope Francis spoke even more strongly on the subject in a private conversation earlier this year as a "profound falsehood" and "demonic." He recommended Gabriele Kuby's The Global Sexual Revolution: Destruction of Freedom in the Name of Freedom.

Todd Aglialoro quotes Pope Benedict XVI on this "new philosophy of sexuality." "People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves."

Aglialoro adds, "When we deny our nature we deny our dignity, and thus destroy justice: law, morality, human rights, all of it." He also quotes Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body, "The relation between us' and our flesh is never accidental or incidental. Our souls and our bodies are partners, never - as gender theory asserts - strangers or even enemies."

Horn points out that studies confirm the Church's teachings, that "When children who reported transgender feelings were tracked without medical or surgical treatment at both Vanderbilt University and London's Portman Clinic, 70 to 80 percent of them spontaneously lost those feelings." A long-term Karolinska Institute study in Sweden, he writes, "revealed that beginning about ten years after having the surgery, the transgendered began to experience increasing mental difficulties. Most shockingly, their suicide mortality rose almost 20-fold above the comparable nontransgender population."

Matt Fradd points out that the word "gender" until late last century, referred exclusively to language (most languages apart from English assign male, female, or neuter genders to nouns)." Until 1974 the American Psychiatric Association classified homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Catholic Answers now must answer the charge that the Catholic Church is homophobic? "While the Church does recognize homosexuality as disordered," the website explains, "this does not mean that the Church is uncompassionate to those who suffer from the disorder. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "Men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies ... must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided."

Study after study in archives of General Psychiatry have shown that both male and female homosexuals have much higher rates of interpersonal maladjustment, depression, conduct disorder, childhood abuse (both sexual and violent), domestic violence, alcohol or drug abuse, anxiety, and dependency on psychiatric care than heterosexuals.

Stanley Kurtz of the Hudson Institute quotes radical homosexuals who state that their goal is not personally to be married, nor to achieve domestic equality with heterosexuals, nor even to attain social respectability, but rather to empty the institution of marriage of its meaning. The Church's defense of the traditional meaning of marriage must be opposed to this.

Catholic Answers even advises, "We must not recognize homosexual activity as legitimate, and we must not give public approval to homosexual marriage because of the harm that will do to the institution of marriage and because of the social harm that will result from emptying marriage of its meaning."

Prison To Praise

The Crown Of Thorns

by David Nyberg

(Editor's note: Mr. Nyberg writes from Nevada. We welcome contributions from prisoners. We would like to hear from a variety of prisoners.)

For a minute picture seeing the roman soldiers as they are crowning Jesus with the garland of thorns (John 19:1-5). Now recall that Genesis 3:18 says that the earth will bring forth thorns and thistles. When we look at our lives, what do we see but thorns and thistles. Us children of the earth how we have scratched each other in our passing. We are so aware of our sin. We agree with Micah (7:4) that at our best we are briers and thorns.

Yet the promise of Christ Jesus is sure in Isaiah (SS:12-13) that instead of the thorn the fir tree will grow, instead of the brier the myrtle tree will arise. Do you see it? Do not the words of Zechariah (9:16) say we are the gems of His Crown? Does not Isaiah (62:3) say that we are His Crown?

When Jesus was crowned with thorns it was truly the one crown He desired. The crown He wore on the Cross was us, us thorns. Though we do not see why, we are His Crown of Glory. O the mystery of God and His mercy is wonderful.

Pray Daily For Life

by Leiann Spontaneo

Note: Priests for Life is happy to make the following prayers available with the kind permission of the author, Fr. Terry Gensemer, a priest of the Charismatic Episcopal Church. He serves in Birmingham, Alabama, and has been a friend of Priests for Life for many years.

Rescue the Pre-born


O God of Beginnings, You are the Creator of all life. As we begin this week, be near us as we unite with our pre-born brothers and sisters who are scheduled for death. May you by your Holy Spirit and by the voice of your church lead your people to rescue from death the innocent children and bring those who participate in their death to true repentance that they may taste of your goodness and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Spiritual Warfare


Almighty and Powerful God, drive all evil spirits away from the innocent pre-born children and from the killing centers where their destruction is planned. Overcome evil with good in the hearts of those who reject your truth and who have believed the lies of the evil one who would say that good is evil and evil is good. Rebuke the enemy for the sake of innocent children and for your sake, oh Lord; through Jesus Chris our Lord. Amen

Kingdom Prayer


Oh Great King of Kings, let your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven for the sanctity of all human life. You have said that your Kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Where there is unrighteousness let righteousness come to bear, where there is hostility, cause your peace to reign supreme, where there is sorrow, bring joy in the hearts of people. Lead us into your unshakable and everlasting kingdom in which you reign forever and ever that truly the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdoms of our God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

For Forgiveness


Oh God of mercy and grace, as you hung on the hard wooden cross, you asked that those who were putting you to death might be forgiven. Please, Oh Lord, help us to offer that same forgiveness to those who participate in abortion, euthanasia, the destruction of embryonic life, and who by other means violate the sanctity of human life, that in all things the world would know the height, the depth, the breadth, and width of your love, your mercy, and your grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Restoration of the Holiness and Protection of the Womb


Oh Holy God, our Rock and our Fortress, you used the womb of Mary to be a tabernacle for the dwelling of the Incarnation, where the Holy Son of God was to be nurtured and protected. You created the womb of woman that the miracle of human life might be nurtured and protected. Many women have been deceived to believe that their womb is not a place of holy protection for a human life, but that it is simply another appendage of their body. Renew and restore your purpose and will concerning the womb of all women throughout the earth, that you may be glorified; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

For Governments


Oh Ruler of the nations, many of the kings of the earth have set themselves against you; they rebel against your rule. Yet you have set your King on your holy hill of Zion so that in every local, state, provincial, and national government you would rule in the midst of your enemies. We pray that you would strengthen and uphold those rulers that, by your grace, are following your ways and purpose. Make your enemies a footstool for your feet, that all people in all nations would kiss the Son,so they may know that happy are those who take refuge in you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, forever and ever. Amen

For an End to Abortion


Oh God, who is the Beginning and the End, hear our prayers as we cry out to you to end the merciless shedding of innocent blood in our nation and throughout the world. Through death you have conquered death and through your life we experience eternal and everlasting life. Cause life to spring forth in the hearts of all people and bring forth a love and respect for life that will dominate our culture. May your kingdom and church apprehend and overtake the culture of death that has prevailed through deceit and selfishness; may the Seed of the woman crush the head of the serpent through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Light to the Nations

(A Christian Perspective on World News)

Bishop Welcomes Iran Nuclear Deal

WASHINGTON-The "momentous agreement" reached between the United States and its partners with Iran over Iran's nuclear program is a "significant achievement" that Congress should support, said the bishop who chairs the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. In a July 14 letter to Congress, Bishop Oscar Cant of Las Cruces, New Mexico, wrote: "It is no small achievement that the United States, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, China, Germany, and France have reached this agreement with Iran."

The deal aims to curb Iran's development of nuclear weapons while allowing the country to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

"The United States and its international partners have taken a remarkable step with Iran in reaching this agreement," wrote Bishop Cant on behalf of the committee. "We encourage Congress to support these efforts to build bridges that foster peace and greater understanding. In the words of Pope Francis, may the negotiated framework be a definitive step toward a more security and fraternal world,' a goal we all share."

The full text of the letter is available online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/iran/cantu-welcomes-iran-nuclear-agreement-2015-07-14.cfm

(Source: USCCB press release)

holy see denounces terrorism

Vatican City (VIS) - Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Holy See permanent observer at the United Nations and other international bodies in Geneva spoke on June 30 at the 29th Session of the Human Rights Council Panel on the effects of terrorism on the enjoyment by all persons of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

"The Holy See Delegation would like to denounce most especially terrorist acts carried out in the name of religion," said the nuncio. "As Pope Francis states, 'religious fundamentalism, even before it eliminates human beings by perpetrating horrendous killings, eliminates God himself, turning him into a mere ideological pretext.' ... Acts of terrorism cause the destruction of human rights, political freedoms, and the rule of law. Terrorism is the antithesis of the shared values and commitments which serve as the basis for peaceful coexistence domestically and internationally. Indeed, with the proliferation of terrorism and the impunity which its proponents enjoy, we can say that there is also a 'globalization of terrorism.' ... A situation is thus created where the positive political will of the major players is required in order to address and resolve the problem of global terrorism and its disastrous effects."

"The Holy See is deeply convinced that terrorism, especially those forms that derive from religious extremism, must be confronted with concerted political efforts by all players, especially by all the local and regional parties involved, as well as by the major international players, whose role is indispensable in negotiating and finding a viable solution, diplomatic or otherwise, to protect life and the future stability of the regions touched by terrorism. The response to terrorism cannot be merely by way of military action. Political participation, fair and just legal systems, and cutting all forms of public and private support for terrorism are means not only to respond, but also to prevent, terrorism. It is also important to remember the positive obligation that States have to undertake in order to protect their citizens and, where that is not possible, to collaborate with other regional authorities in order to address the threats posed by terrorist groups," concluded Archbishop Tomasi.

(Source: Vatican Information Service)

modern slavery, climate change linked

Vatican City (VIS) - On July 15 in the Holy See Press Office Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, presented the meeting "Modern slavery and climate change: the commitment of the cities," and the symposium "Prosperity, people and planet in the cities," to be held in the Casina Pio IV (Vatican, July 21-22). These events will be attended by the mayors of major cities, local administrators, and various representatives of the United Nations, and the speakers will include expert communications consultants Michael Shank and Alessandro Gaetano.

"The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is in agreement with the Holy Father in perceiving a clear link between these two emergencies: the crisis of climate change and the social crisis, both of anthropic origin," explained the prelate. Our commitment, following the Encyclical, is to ensuring that all society is made aware of these phenomena and of the human responsibilities for these crises, and reacts with firmness, as a new moral imperative for all humanity in favor of the common good."

"In this fundamental moral context, cities and their mayors play a key role," explained the prelate. "Currently, most of humanity is concentrated in formal and informal urban settlements and this trend is set to increase. Each of our cultural traditions also affirms the inherent dignity and the social responsibility of each individual in relation to the common good. They emphasize the importance of living together in the polis for the fulfilment of the social, cultural, and religious identity of every human being and for the beauty, wonder, and inherent goodness of the world, recognizing it as a precious gift that supports life and is entrusted to our stewardship. It is not a matter of preserving it as in a museum, but of developing it according to its potential, following the very laws of nature. Respecting and developing "our common home" rather than devastating it is a moral imperative."

Bishop Sanchez Sorondo noted that, as the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences has remarked, although the poor and the excluded have the least effect on climate change and often live on the outskirts of the city, they are the most exposed to the terrible threat posed by human-induced climate disruption. However, the world now has within reach the scientific knowledge, technological tools, and financial means to reverse anthropogenic climate change, while ending extreme poverty at the same time through solutions that include renewable and low carbon emission energy sources. "Financing the initiative in favor of this 'integral ecology,' including the decisive containment of human-induced climate change, could also be based on the relentless pursuit of peace, which would allow a redistribution of public spending from military expenditure towards urgent investments for the benefit of social inclusion and the effective monitoring of carbon emissions, particularly in the cities."

With reference to the presence of mayors at the events on July 21 and 22, he emphasized that the intention of the Pontifical Academy was for them "to commit to promoting the empowerment of the poor and of those who live in vulnerable conditions in our cities and in our urban settlements, reducing their exposure to extreme weather events caused by radical environmental, economic, and social instabilities, which create fertile ground for forced migration and human trafficking."

"At the same time," he added, "we would like the mayors to commit to put an end to abuse, exploitation, human trafficking, and all forms of modern slavery within their communities. These tragic occurrences, which Pope Benedict and Pope Francis termed 'crimes against humanity,' also include forced labor, prostitution, organ trafficking, and domestic servitude. We would also like the mayors to commit to developing resettlement and social integration programs for the victims, at the national and local levels, in order to avoid their involuntary repatriation."

(Source: Vatican Information Service)

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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 we will care for all of God's creation.
  • We pray that we will welcome tourists and benefit from the many opportunities provided by increased tourism.
  • We pray for world leaders to be guided by the Holy Spirit.
  • We pray for families facing challenges such as death.
  • We pray for students, teachers, and parents as school resumes.
  • We pray for peace throughout the world and especially in the Middle East.
  • We pray that we will "give a hand up" to the poor and suffering.
  • We pray for persecuted Christians.
  • We pray that we will share our blessings and resources with others.
  • We pray for the military, police, and firefighters as they protect and serve the public.
  • We pray for the homeless, unemployed, underemployed, outcasts, and the marginalized.