May 8, 2024 // National

News Briefs: May 12, 2024

Pope Urges Reparation to the Sacred Heart

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The spiritual practice of reparation “may be somewhat forgotten or wrongly judged obsolete” today, but it is essential for the promotion of justice and healing, including on behalf of those who have suffered abuse in the Church, Pope Francis said. With a sincere commitment to reparation, the hope is that even “if the irreparable cannot be completely repaired, love can always be reborn, making the wound bearable,” the pope said as he met on Saturday, May 4, with participants in a conference marking the 350th anniversary of the 17th-century apparitions of Jesus to French St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, which included his call to promote devotion to His Sacred Heart and to make acts of reparation or penance for the times people have not recognized Christ’s love. Reparation is a concept found throughout the Bible, the pope said. “In the Old Testament, it takes on a social dimension of compensation for evil committed,” being a matter of justice such as returning something that had been stolen or repairing something that was damaged. “In the New Testament, however, it takes the form of a spiritual process, within the framework of the redemption brought about by Christ,” the pope said. “Reparation is fully manifested in the sacrifice of the Cross. The novelty here is that it reveals the Lord’s mercy toward the sinner.”

Supporting Catholic Media Connects ‘World with Christ’

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) – The annual collection for the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Communication Campaign takes place in most U.S. parishes during Masses the weekend of May 11-12. Half of the gifts to the diocesan collection stay in the participating diocese where they support the local diocese’s communications programs. The other half supports communication activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and some projects across the United States and abroad, according to an April 29 news release. “Jesus called us to take His message of love, mercy, and salvation to the ends of the earth,” said Atlanta Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on Catholic Communication Campaign. “His first disciples reached hearts eager to hear this message by preaching to crowds, writing letters, and personal encounters with people they met on their travels.” Today, Jesus’ disciples “share this same message of hope through videos, podcasts, and social media,” which is what the Catholic Communication Campaign “is all about,” he said.

Pope: Synodal Style Can Free Pastors to Focus on Ministry

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The more pastors empower their parishioners to share responsibility for the mission of the Church, the more they will learn to set their ministry free “from the things that wear us down,” Pope Francis wrote. “We will never become a synodal and missionary Church unless parish communities are distinguished by the sharing of all the baptized in the one mission of proclaiming the Gospel,” the pope wrote in a letter to the more than 200 parish priests from around the world who met April 29-May 2 to give their input to the Synod of Bishops on synodality. “If parishes are not synodal and missionary, neither will the Church be,” the pope wrote. Pope Francis’ letter, which opened by thanking parish priests for their generous service, was released by Vatican officials after the pope and the pastors had a closed-door meeting at the Vatican. The stronger the sense of shared responsibility in a parish, the pope said, the more priests can concentrate on the “authentic core” of their ministry: “the proclamation of God’s word and the gathering of the community for the breaking of bread.”

Arizona Governor Repeals Ban on Abortion

PHOENIX (OSV News) – Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs signed a measure to repeal Arizona’s near-total ban on abortions just one day after it passed in the state’s Republican-controlled Senate. Arizona’s Republican-controlled House voted on Wednesday, April 24, to repeal the state’s 1864 law banning abortion recently upheld by that state’s Supreme Court, and the state Senate followed suit on Wednesday, May 1. At a May 2 signing ceremony, Hobbs said she was glad to undo the “the chaos and confusion caused” by the ban going into effect. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, April 9, that the Civil War-era near-total abortion ban is enforceable following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 reversal of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and related abortion precedents with the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, in the absence of a legal mechanism blocking its enforcement. Not only is that law enforceable, that court found, but it rendered moot the state’s 15-week abortion ban that went into effect after Dobbs. But the GOP legislature in Arizona ultimately moved to repeal the Civil War-era ban after pushback.

Holy Land Cardinal Condemns Too Few Calls for Peace

ROME (CNS) – The prophetic voices of religious leaders working to foster peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land have been largely absent as the war in Gaza rages on, a Jerusalem-based cardinal said. “With few exceptions, no speeches, reflections, prayers have been heard from religious leadership that are different from any other political or social leader,” Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, said on Thursday, May 2. When religious leaders discuss the war in Gaza, “one gets the impression that people express themselves exclusively within the perspective of their own community,” he said, whereas the Catholic Church in the Holy Land is “called to be an open road on which fear and suspicion give way to knowledge, encounter, and trust, where differences are opportunities for companionship and collaboration and not an excuse for war.” Speaking at a conference on developing pastoral practices for peace hosted by Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University, the cardinal said that while defeat, violence, and the rejection of dialogue appear to be the only options to people in the Holy Land, the Christian community “will continue to affirm the way of encounter and mutual respect as the only way out capable of leading to peace.”

Catholics, Buddhists Must Work for Peace, Vatican Officials Say

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Catholics and Buddhists abhor war, but the increasing number of armed conflicts in the world show a need for believers to take practical steps to overcome hatred and to promote reconciliation, said officials of the Vatican Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue. Writing to Buddhists around the world preparing to celebrate Vesak, which commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha, dicastery officials said, “The continuing escalation of conflicts worldwide calls for renewed attention to the critical issue of peace and deeper reflection on our own role in overcoming the obstacles standing in the way of its growth.” The Vesak message, signed by Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, Dicastery Prefect, and Msgr. Indunil Janakaratne Kankanamalage, Secretary, was released by the Vatican on Monday, May 6. Most Buddhists will celebrate Vesak this year on Thursday, May 23.

Priests sprinkle holy water on worshippers during a ceremony to bless Easter cakes and eggs before a Ukrainian Greek Catholic Easter Vigil service in the town of Pustomyty, Ukraine, May 4, 2024. Easter was celebrated May 5 according to the Julian calendar but after 2025, all Ukrainian Greek Catholic parishes will follow the Gregorian liturgical calendar. (OSV News photo/Gleb Garanich, Reuters)

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