Francie Hogan
Graphic Designer
October 21, 2020 // National

News Briefs: October 25, 2020

Francie Hogan
Graphic Designer

Pope repeats call to divert funds from military to fight hunger

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Repeating a call first made by St. Paul VI, Pope Francis urged a global move to divert money from national military spending and use it to “definitely defeat hunger.” Addressing representatives of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization Oct. 16, World Food Day, Pope Francis seemed to go a step further than St. Paul VI, who — in his 1967 encyclical “Populorum Progressio” — asked “world leaders to set aside part of their military expenditures for a world fund to relieve the needs of impoverished peoples.” Pope Francis, in his recent encyclical “Fratelli Tutti, on Fraternity and Social Friendship” and in his video message to the FAO, said that “a courageous decision would be to use the money spent on arms and other military expenditures to constitute a ‘Global Fund’ so that we can definitively defeat hunger and help the development of the poorest countries.” As the U.N. agency celebrated its 75th anniversary, Pope Francis told staff and members, “Your mission is beautiful and important, because you are working to defeat hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.”

At Alberta meat plant, COVID-19 put Catholic social teaching into action

EDMONTON, Alberta (CNS) — The largest single outbreak of COVID-19 in North America may be one of the biggest lessons in the Catholic social principles of sacrifice, the value of work, care for the common good, and solidarity. More than 1,500 cases, resulting in three deaths, were linked to the Cargill meat-packing plant at High River in mid-April. Most of the employees were newcomers to Canada: either permanent residents or temporary foreign workers. The crisis situation created strong feelings of being scared, hungry, vulnerable and needing some reassurance. “Someone who is sacrificing of their life for another, I look at the workers in a realm that is very close to that,” said Ric Morales, executive director of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, which mobilized teams to help the Cargill workers and their families. “Here are people going out into a situation that some of them knew could be very risky. You have people who are going out knowing that they have to provide not only for their families in Canada, but there are people from their country of origin that are relying on them.” For 11 days, roughly 60 Calgary Catholic Immigration Society staff, along with volunteers and staff from the Alberta International Medical Graduates Association and Action Dignity, worked remotely with Cargill employees and their families in High River, putting in extended shifts. Morales said in a matter of days, cases skyrocketed from the mid-30s to more than 300.

When looking to future, include most vulnerable, Catholics tell G-20 forum

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (CNS) — COVID-19 provides an opportunity for people to prepare the future, and religious leaders have an opportunity to make sure that preparation includes the world’s most vulnerable, said Catholic participants in the annual G-20 Interfaith Forum. Leaders and representatives of major religions and global policy institutions participated in the Oct. 13-17 meeting streamed from Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh. Father Augusto Zampini Davies, an official at the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, told the forum that as well as causing enormous problems, COVID-19 is also worsening existing inequalities and injustices and showing the “inability of the world to face a common problem together.” The Argentine priest said interreligious dialogue and cross-cultural cooperation are crucial in times of crisis. The world needs reconnection through values such as “fraternity, compassion, care,” as well as friendship and cultural enrichment, he said. As well as COVID-19, the forum is addressing modern slavery and human trafficking, the needs of migrants and refugees, hate speech and racism, and climate change, among others.

Those who accompany the dying inspired by ‘Samaritanus bonus’

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Much attention was given to Church teaching on assisted suicide and euthanasia when the Vatican released its Sept. 22 letter “Samaritanus bonus,” on the Care of Persons in the Critical and Terminal Phases of Life,” but Sister Maureen Weiss focused on the document’s guidance on accompanying the dying, a key component to her vocation. Sister Maureen entered religious life in 1968, took her final vows as woman religious with the Little Sisters of the Poor in 1978, became a nurse, and in a community that cares for the elderly poor, she has accompanied hundreds of men and women at the end of their earthly lives. “The Church wants people not to be abandoned during this moment,” she told Catholic News Service shortly after the 25-page letter “Samaritanus bonus” was released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “We accompany a baby at birth and at baptism. My community makes sure we’re carrying them to eternity. That is the journey of our life.” Calling “’Samaritanus bonus’” a “beautiful document,” Sister Maureen — who most recently was the administrator and mother superior of her community’s Jeanne Jugan Residence for the elderly poor in Somerville, Massachusetts, before it was sold to the Visiting Nurse Association earlier this year — was particularly moved by the passage that says Christians must “know how to stay, to keep vigil, with those who suffer the anguish of death, to ‘console’ them, to be with them in their loneliness, to be an ‘abiding with’ that can instill hope.”

Vatican coins illustrate Bible stories, mark anniversaries

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The most expensive Vatican commemorative coins for 2020 continue a numismatic series illustrating scenes from the Acts of the Apostles; the other mid-October issues mark important anniversaries and themes dear to the heart of the pope. The 50-euro gold coin, which sells for about $1,170, features St. Paul holding a sword and a Bible. The 20-euro gold coin, which sells for about $470, features St. Paul preaching at the Areopagus. The Vatican Philatelic and Numismatic Office released the coins, which are sold mainly to collectors, Oct. 16. On the same day, the office released a Philatelic-Numismatic Cover containing a bimetal commemorative two-euro coin and stamp with a special cancellation marking the 100th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s birth. The smiling face of St. John Paul used on the stamp was inspired by a photo taken during his 1986 trip to Australia, the office said. “The lilies that make up the ornamental elements in the background — symbolizing honesty, chastity and purity — are a clear reference to the Virgin Mary, to whom the pope was very devoted and entrusted his Petrine ministry.”

In virtual seminar, Catholics urged to stand for faith in public square

PHOENIX (CNS) — Ahead of what has been described as one of the most contentious elections in the United States, the Diocese of Phoenix offered a perspective on the role and responsibility of Catholics in the voting booth during its recent “Catholics in the Public Square Seminar” livestreamed from the diocesan pastoral center. This biennial event normally draws several hundred attendees. But this year, pandemic restrictions limited in-person attendance for the event, and the livestream of the event received at least 3,160 views. In his homily for a Mass opening the Oct. 3 events, Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted said Jesus told his disciples in the day’s Gospel reading he had given them “the power to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions,” a passage the bishop said “sounds like it was meant for the desert of Arizona.” Just as he sent the disciples, “Jesus is sending you and me as his witnesses in a nation experiencing calamity of sin, division and vitriol, to be his faithful disciples” and also “faithful citizens of our nation,” the bishop said. This means “forming our consciences well and recognizing that there’s a hierarchy of issues that are involved, including that innocent human life is always a priority,” he explained.

Catholics in Portland, Ore., kneel to pray a rosary for peace and justice in a downtown park Oct. 17, 2020. (Ed Langlois/Catholic Sentinel)

* * *

The best news. Delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe to our mailing list today.