April 30, 2024 // National

News Briefs: May 5, 2024

Pier Giorgio Frassati’s Canonization Reportedly ‘on the Horizon’ in 2025

During an assembly of the Italian Catholic Action in late April, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, reportedly told those gathered that “the canonization of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati is now clear on the horizon and looming for the next jubilee year” of 2025. According to the Italian newspaper Avvenire, the declaration was met with resounding applause by the thousands of members present, marking a momentous occasion for devotees of Frassati and the wider Catholic community. An official declaration on the matter has yet to come from the Vatican. Pier Giorgio Frassati, born in Turin in 1901, has inspired countless young people. During his life he was known for his zealous love of God and dedication to serving the less fortunate. Though brief, his life was vibrant with activities ranging from mountaineering to serving the poorest through the St. Vincent de Paul Society, showcasing his dynamic approach to faith and charity. He was also a lay Dominican. He died at the young age of 24 and was beatified in 1990.

CBS to Air Pope Francis Interview

NEW YORK (OSV News) – In an exclusive interview with “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell that took place on Wednesday, April 24, Pope Francis addressed the conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, the plight of children in these areas, climate change, and the decline in the number of U.S. Catholics. He told O’Donnell that “there is always a place” for people in the Church, even if a particular priest or parish is not welcoming. A clip of the interview aired the day it took place, and CBS officials said it will air more of the interview on “60 Minutes” on Sunday, May 19, and in a primetime special on Monday, May 20. The interview takes place ahead of the Vatican’s first World Children’s Day, scheduled for May 25-26. The CBS interview marks the first time a pope has given an in-depth, one-on-one interview to a U.S. broadcast network, according CBS officials.

Pope Asks Lay Catholics to Prepare for Synod’s ‘Prophetic’ Stage

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The most important outcome of the current Synod of Bishops on synodality is the synodal process itself and not the hot-button topics discussed, Pope Francis said. With the second synod assembly scheduled for October, the pope said the synod process is approaching its “most challenging and important” stage – the point at which it must become “prophetic.” At this point in the synodal journey “it is a matter of translating the work of the previous stages into choices that will give impetus and new life to the mission of the Church in our time,” he told members of the Italian Catholic Action lay association in a packed St. Peter’s Square on Thursday, April 25. But he noted that “the most important thing of this synod is synodality, the subjects and topics (discussed) are there to advance this expression of the Church that is synodality.” In March, Pope Francis decided that some of the most controversial issues raised at the first synod assembly “requiring in-depth study” will be examined by study groups; the groups are to issue preliminary reports to the synod assembly in October and give their final reports to the pope by June of 2025.

Italian Leader Says Pope Will Join G7 Discussion on AI

ROME (CNS) – Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced that Pope Francis would participate in a G7 “outreach” discussion on artificial intelligence when the leaders of the world’s leading industrialized nations meet in southern Italy in mid-June. “This is the first time a pontiff is participating in the work of the Group of Seven, and this can only bring prestige to Italy and the entire @G7,” Meloni wrote on X on Friday, April 26, in a posting that included a video announcement. Meloni, U.S. President Joe Biden, and the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom, along with top officials of the European Union, are scheduled to meet June 13-15 in Puglia. Matteo Bruni, Director of the Vatican Press Office, confirmed Pope Francis’ intention to participate and told Catholic News Service he believed the pope would attend the meeting, not just send a message.

Kenyan Archbishop Appeals for Aid as Floods Devastate the Country

NAIROBI, Kenya (OSV News) – Amid severe floods, a leading Catholic archbishop in Kenya appealed for humanitarian support to aid thousands of displaced people as he expressed the Church’s closeness to the affected populations. By Monday, April 29, rescue operations were continuing as the death toll surpassed 120 people due to excessive rains and floods linked to the continuing El Nino phenomenon in East Africa. Floodwaters have submerged homes and public installations, and bursting rivers have swept into villages, making roads temporary riverbeds throughout the last several weeks. Many roads have been cut off as dams burst because of the heavy rains that began in mid-March. On April 29, a dam collapsed in western Kenya, killing at least 45 people, including 17 children, after a wall of water swept through houses. “We want to be very close to you as you go through the pain of loss and as you feel the weight of these floods,” Archbishop Anthony Muheria of Nyeri said in a recorded appeal on Sunday, April 28. Archbishop Muheria said God was calling on Christians and people of goodwill to help – in all ways – the people who have been affected by the devastating floods.

New York Court Rules Insurer Doesn’t Have to Pay Out Abuse Claims

NEW YORK (OSV News) – A New York state appeals court has found that an insurer for the Archdiocese of New York is not required to cover costs for settling hundreds of sex abuse claims – a ruling the archdiocese has called “extremely disappointing” and “wrongly decided.” On Tuesday, April 23, the First Judicial Department of the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division overturned a lower court’s December 2023 order that would have compelled a group of Chubb insurance entities – who had issued more than 30 liability policies to the archdiocese and several of its parishes, schools, and entities between 1956 and 2003 – to pay out for more than 1,500 abuse cases. Those claims against the archdiocese were brought under the state’s Child Victims Act of 2019 and Adult Survivors Act of 2022, both of which opened the door to hundreds of previously time-barred suits. “If allowed to stand, the decision will permit insurance companies to evade the contractual obligations of the policies they issued,” Joseph Zwilling, Director of Communications for the archdiocese, told OSV News in an April 23 statement. In recent years, insurers have pushed back on paying out for such claims, alleging that dioceses were aware of – and failed to take action against – abuse. Zwilling indicated the archdiocese will appeal, but will first “consider and determine what is the best way to further policyholders and plaintiffs interests.”

This is a screenshot of “Father Justin,” an AI chatbot simulating a priest in order to answer questions for teaching apostolate Catholic Answers. Catholic Answers executives told OSV News April 24, 2024, they are not discouraged from pursuing AI projects following the troubled April 23 launch of “Father Justin,” who was “laicized” hours later to “Justin” after his responses to questions about the faith sparked social media furor. (OSV News screenshot/Catholic Answers)

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