August 30, 2018 // National

News Briefs: September 2, 2018

Faith strengthens marriage, makes love grow, pope says

DUBLIN (CNS) — God wants every person to love and be loved, creating a family or community where love is nurtured and shared with all who are poor, lonely or in need, Pope Francis said. En route to joining thousands of people at the World Meeting of Families, the Vatican-sponsored event being hosted in Dublin, the pope met Aug. 25 with more than 350 recently married or soon-to-be married couples in the city’s St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral. Looking at all the young couples in the pro-cathedral, Pope Francis told them he found it hard to believe how people say that young people don’t want to get married anymore. “To marry and share your life is a beautiful thing,” he said, thanking them for their witness. He also had some kind words for the babies whose cries rang out occasionally during the meeting. “It’s beautiful to hear that music, the babies crying,” he said. “It’s the most beautiful music and the best preaching because it is a cry of hope.” “Love is God’s dream for us and for the whole human family,” the pope told the couples. “Please, never forget this! God has a dream for us, and He asks us to make it our own.”

National pro-life conference calls leaders to be missionary disciples

PHOENIX (CNS) — More than 100 diocesan, state and national pro-life leaders from across the U.S. gathered for the annual Diocesan Pro-Life Leadership Conference to discuss how best to build a culture of life. The conference took place just days before Pope Francis revised the Catechism of the Catholic Church to say the death penalty is “inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” The reinstatement of the death penalty in some states was just one of a host of life-related issues the pro-life leaders came together to discuss: Abortion, physician-assisted suicide, contraception and pornography all figured into the sessions, but the entire undertaking was seen through a spiritual lens. The theme of the July 29-Aug. 1 conference, “Missionary Disciples Building a Culture of Life,” pointed to the reality of each person being created in the image and likeness of God and that in baptism, each Christian is called to be both a missionary and a disciple. Deacon Omar Gutierrez, director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith office for the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska, attended the conference alongside three others from that state. Deacon Gutierrez referenced Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Catholic who has strongly opposed abortion but who recently spearheaded an effort to bring back the death penalty.

Chicago Catholics see WYD cross, icon as symbols of church’s universality

CHICAGO (CNS) — When more than 100,000 young people gather with Pope Francis in Panama this January for World Youth Day, on prominent display will be two symbols that visited the Archdiocese of Chicago Aug. 20. The World Youth Day Cross and the Icon of Our Lady Salus Populi Romani, entrusted to the youth and young adults of the world by St. John Paul II in 1984, were displayed in the sanctuary at Holy Name Cathedral from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. They were venerated by the faithful who attended the many services held around the visit. It was the first time these symbols visited Chicago. Much like the Olympic torch, the symbols make a pilgrimage to various countries leading up to World Youth Day. St. John Paul instituted the annual observance of World Youth Day after two successful international gatherings with young people in Rome in 1984 and 1985. It is a gathering of youth and young adults for prayer, worship and celebration of the Catholic faith. It is currently held every few years in different countries. In between the international gathering World Youth Day is held on the national level in several countries. The pilgrimage experience is aimed at those ages 16 to 35.

Young adults pray for survivors of clergy abuse, wounded church

ST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) — As the sun set Aug. 20, about 120 Catholics gathered on the steps of the Cathedral of St. Paul to pray for survivors of clergy sexual abuse and for a cleansing of the Catholic Church. Among them was Pennsylvania native Corey Furdock, for whom the grand jury report issued Aug. 14 detailing clergy sexual abuse claims in that state hit especially close to home. “My childhood priest was on the list, and it (abuse) was speculated back when he was removed in 2006. He just kind of disappeared,” said Furdock, 27, a parishioner of the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. “It’s been really difficult,” he added. “Here, it’s a national headline that I think everyone can grieve (about), but being from there, having that relationship to the Church … it’s painful.” The prayer vigil included evening prayer from the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours and petitions related to abuse survivors and the scandal. Many attendees held candles. Most were in their 20s and 30s and came from parishes across the Twin Cities. 

USCCB president seeks papal audience, answers to former nuncio’s questions

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said he was “eager for an audience” with Pope Francis to gain his support for the bishops’ plan to respond to the clergy sexual abuse crisis. In an Aug. 27 statement, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston also said that the questions raised by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former nuncio to the United States, in a letter published by two Catholic media outlets “deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence. Without those answers, innocent men may be tainted by false accusations and the guilty may be left to repeat the sins of the past,” the cardinal said. In his 11-page letter, published Aug. 26, Archbishop Vigano accused Church officials, including Pope Francis, of failing to act on accusations of abuse of conscience and power by now-Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick. Archbishop Vigano claimed he told Pope Francis about Cardinal McCarrick in 2013. Archbishop Vigano, who served as nuncio to the United States from 2011 to 2016, wrote that he was compelled to write his knowledge of Archbishop McCarrick’s misdeeds because “corruption has reached the very top of the church’s hierarchy.” 

Memorial Mass celebrates life of young Catholic woman found dead in Iowa

BROOKLYN, Iowa (CNS) — A mural of a grizzly bear breaking through a brick wall calls attention to visitors in the BGM High School gym. It seemed a fitting metaphor for the unstoppable spirit of Mollie Tibbetts, whose life was celebrated during a memorial Mass Aug. 26 in the gym. The 20-year college student, described as a bright light in this farming community of 1,500 people, was abducted and killed in July while jogging just outside of Brooklyn. Her disappearance led to a monthlong search that drew national attention and hundreds of volunteers determined to bring the young college student home. Farm worker Christhian Rivera, 24, has been charged with first-degree murder. He entered the U.S. illegally seven years ago, a fact that further fueled the immigration debate dividing the nation. But it was Tibbetts’ ability to bring out the best in others that brought 1,500 people to the memorial Mass, with Bishop Thomas R. Zinkula of Davenport, Iowa, presiding and five priests concelebrating. Adults and youths, Catholics and non-Catholics, sang in the choir. A section of seats was reserved for the Class of 2017, Tibbetts’ class. Hugs were exchanged generously in that section and elsewhere in the packed gym. 

A boy dressed like Pope Francis waits for the pontiff to celebrate Mass at Phoenix Park in Dublin Aug. 26. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

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