East African bishops applaud Eritrea, Ethiopia peace process
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The bishops of East Africa praised the peace efforts that brought an end to the two-decade war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. In a statement July 22, the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa, known by the acronym AMECEA, said the steps taken by the leaders of both countries “show that Africans have the wisdom to solve their own problems amicably. As this process of reconciliation continues, the Catholic Church urges the stakeholders to ensure that justice and peace are restored and let the peoples of these countries be involved in the process, their voices heard and captives returned to their families,” the bishops said. AMECEA, which comprises the bishops’ conferences of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, Djibouti and Somalia, held its plenary assembly July 13-23 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The theme of the meeting was “Vibrant Diversity, Equal Dignity, Peaceful Unity in God in the AMECEA Region.” In their statement, the bishops said the news of a peaceful end to the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia was received “with great joy.”
Russian Church official urges reflection on centenary of czar’s murder
OXFORD, England (CNS) — The secretary-general of the Russian bishops’ conference urged Catholics to remember the 1918 murder of Czar Nicholas II and his family with “penance and reflection,” while suggesting Catholics could participate in future commemorations. “The killing of this family was one of the first steps on a path of mass murder, forced labor, religious persecution and genocide which led on through the Stalinist period,” said Msgr. Igor Kovalevsky, secretary-general. “Although not officially engaged in these centenary events, the Catholic Church must do something — so the best is to reflect deeply, in a spirit of penance, on all those tragic times.” The priest spoke after 100,000 people — led by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill — attended a pilgrimage and religious observances in Yekaterinburg. In a July 19 Catholic News Service interview, Msgr. Kovalevsky said the country’s million-strong Catholic Church had not been involved in past commemorations of the czar and his family, nor in their canonization by the Orthodox Church. However, he added that Nicholas II’s murdered entourage had included at least one Catholic, the Latvian-born footman Alexei Yegorovich Trupp, and said he believed members of Yekaterinburg’s Catholic parish had taken part in the July 12-17 events. “We should remember Nicholas II had voluntarily given up his throne the previous year, so it’s more historically accurate to mourn the killing of a family than the death of a czar,” Msgr. Kovalevsky said.
Cardinal calls all to pray Supreme Court will move to protect life in law
WASHINGTON (CNS) — New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, called July 19 for a national prayer campaign effort that “the change in the U.S. Supreme Court will move our nation closer to the day when every human being is protected in law and welcomed in life.” “As soon as Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, pro-abortion groups began lobbying the U.S. Senate to reject any nominee who does not promise to endorse Roe v. Wade,” the cardinal said in a statement. “While the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops does not support or oppose the confirmation of any presidential nominee,” he said, “we can and should raise grave concerns about a confirmation process which is being grossly distorted by efforts to subject judicial nominees to a litmus test of support for Roe v. Wade. And we must pray.” He invited all people of goodwill to pray each Friday from Aug. 3 to Sept. 28 in a “Novena for the Legal Protection of Human Life.” The USCCB said “Call to Prayer” materials will be accessible at https://bit.ly/2JBU1MH. Materials include prayers and educational resources and an invitation to fast on Fridays for this intention.
Pope adds teen to list of saints to be declared during synod on youth
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis added an Italian teenager to the list of people he will formally recognize as saints Oct. 14 during the monthlong meeting of the world Synod of Bishops on young people. During an “ordinary public consistory” July 19, Pope Francis announced he would declare Blessed Nunzio Sulprizio a saint the same day he will canonize Blesseds Oscar Romero, Paul VI and four others. An ordinary public consistory is a meeting of the pope, cardinals and promoters of sainthood causes that formally ends the sainthood process. Sulprizio was born April 13, 1817, in the Abruzzo region near Pescara. Both of his parents died when he was an infant and his maternal grandmother, who raised him, died when he was nine. An uncle took him under his guardianship and had the young boy work for him in his blacksmith shop. However, the work was too strenuous for a boy his age and he developed a problem in his leg, which became gangrenous. A military colonel took care of Sulprizio, who was eventually hospitalized in Naples. The young teen faced tremendous pain with patience and serenity and offered up his sufferings to God. He died in Naples in 1836 at the age of 19. He was declared blessed in 1963 by Blessed Paul VI, who will be canonized together with the teen.
Jesuit aims to stem decline of faith with launch of catechetical website
ANAHEIM, Calif. (CNS) — Jesuit Father Robert J. Spitzer, former president of Gonzaga University, launched a cutting-edge catechetical website to confront the rising tide of unbelief spurred by an increasingly skeptical, science-saturated society. Developed through Father Spitzer’s Magis Center, based in Garden Grove, Credible Catholic offers 20 downloadable “modules” that equip Magis Center learners with evidence-based arguments for core Christian beliefs. The catechetical website is www.CredibleCatholic.com. “The Credible Catholic modules correspond to fundamental apologetics in light of modern scientific methods,” said Father Spitzer, author and co-host of the Eternal Word Television Network program, “Father Spitzer’s Universe.” “For example, I approach the Resurrection through evidence, but I respond to every Scripture passage, too,” he said in an interview with Catholic News Service. Each module is available in animated PowerPoint or document format in three levels of complexity, from highly detailed to a “Cliff Notes” version, with a separate teaching. The modules and a link to sign up for updates or staff support can be found at www.crediblecatholic.com. The website for Father Spitzer’s Magis Center is www.magiscenter.com.
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