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Through serving, people continue to 'Walk With Francis' a year after trip

By Kelly SeegersWASHINGTON (CNS) -- As Pope Francis boarded the plane after his visit to Washington a year ago, he carried with him a book containing more than 100,000 pledges that people in the Archdiocese of Washington had made to "Walk With Francis" by either praying, serving or acting to improve their community. Leading up to the pope's visit, the Archdiocese of Washington, along with Catholic Charities, launched the Walk With Francis initiative, which encouraged people to prepare for the pope's visit by following in his example of love and mercy. People were asked to make pledges to pray regularly for the pontiff, to serve by caring for those in need and supporting charitable efforts, or to act to promote human life and dignity, justice and peace, family life and religious freedom, care for creation and the common good. In the months that followed, individuals, schools, parishes and other organizations made pledges to help their community in different ways. Many people posted their pledges on social media, using #WalkwithFrancis. The day before the pope arrived in Washington Sept. 22, 2015, the Walk With Francis pledges topped the 100,000 mark. The Archdiocese of Washington then compiled all of the pledges into a 400-page book that they presented to the pope as a parting gift when he left in late afternoon Sept. 24, 2015. At Little Flower School in Great Mills, Maryland, each class decided for itself how they were going to Walk With Francis. Students in the pre-kindergarten class pledged to act like Jesus toward one another, the second grade pledged to do an act of kindness every day, the fifth grade pledged to plant a school garden, the seventh grade pledged to pray the prayer of St. Francis every day, and the eighth grade pledged to do guided meditations on mercy. Patricia Peters, who teaches seventh- and eighth-grade religion, saw the pledges that her students made go beyond the time leading up to Pope Francis' visit. Both the seventh and the eighth grade continued their prayers and meditations regularly throughout the year. In addition, two students from her seventh-grade class were inspired by the prayer of St. Francis to start a pet supply drive that now runs annually from the beginning of the year until the blessing of the pets on St. Francis of Assisi's feast day. "It was very affirming for me to be a part of it, to watch my students grow through the experience and to be able to be a part of the larger church in that way," Peters told the Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Washington Archdiocese. "It definitely strengthened my faith to be a part of that with my students." Several prominent figures in the Washington area also signed the Walk With Francis Pledge. Katie Ledecky, the five-time Olympic swimming gold medalist who attends Little Flower Parish in Bethesda, Maryland, pledged to help Shepherd's Table, Catholic Charities and Bikes for the World. John Carlson, a member of the Washington Capitals, pledged to "continue to work on my faith and become a better father every day." Erik Salmi, director of communications for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, said these pledges "helped bring some great energy to the campaign." At The Catholic University of America, students were encouraged to sign pledges after the opening Mass of the school year. Many of the students, such as James Walsh, still wear their "Walk With Francis" wristbands as a reminder of the pledges they made that day. "I like to keep it on as a good reminder ... to stay humble," Walsh said. Catholic University also had a "Serve With Francis Day," where hundreds of students went out to serve their local community. Salmi said the effects of the Walk With Francis initiative are hard to measure, because it is similar to when "you drop a stone in the middle of a pond and the ripples go pretty far and wide." However, he said he did know that all of the Catholic Charities programs benefited from having volunteers that joined them. The good deeds did not end when the pope left. Since his visit, more than 10,000 additional pledges have been made. Through the Drive with Francis initiative, the Fiat that Pope Francis rode in is being used to help those in need. There is even a new hashtag, #DrivewithFrancis, so that people can share on social media what they are doing with the papal Fiat. Two Fiats were used by Pope Francis during his visit to Washington and later the cars were donated to the archdiocese by Pope Francis and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The proceeds of the auction of one of the cars are being donated to various charities. A private donor who wanted to remain anonymous is letting the archdiocese use the second Fiat via the #DrivewithFrancis initiative to promote good works, activities and social service programs aiding the local community. The car has been parked at various events in the area, collecting food for a community food bank or baby items for a crisis pregnancy center in Washington. It was present at the Washington Nationals' Faith Day, where people could line up to make breakfast bags for the homeless served by Catholic Charities' Cup of Joe program. After the game, 550 Cup of Joe bags were delivered to Adam's Place shelter, which is run by Catholic Charities. "That seems pretty perfect for me in summarizing how His Holiness would want the car to be used," Salmi said. For the first anniversary of the pope's visit to Washington, Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese of Washington launched a "Walk With Francis 2.0" initiative for the Sept. 24-25 weekend, when people could renew the pledge or make a new one if they had not done it before. Parishes in the archdiocese planned to have pledge cards for parishioners to fill out during Mass and bring up to the altar. - - - Seegers is on the staff of the Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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Bishop Jugis calls all to pray for peace, justice in Charlotte

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jason Miczek, ReutersBy Patricia L. GuilfoyleCHARLOTTE, N.C. (CNS) -- After two nights of violence in Charlotte, Bishop Peter J. Jugis called on men, women and children in the Diocese of Charlotte to join him in prayers for "peace and justice" for all victims of violence and for law enforcement personnel who have been victims of "unjust violence." "Let us pray for all men and women of good will to be instruments of harmony and the always-shining light of Christ in our neighborhoods, workplaces, schools and public places," the bishop said in a statement Sept. 22. The protests late Sept. 20 and Sept. 21, with the crowds swelling at one point to 1,000 people, followed the fatal police shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, an African-American, outside an apartment complex the afternoon of Sept. 20. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said while they were trying to serve a warrant on another person in the area, Scott approached them from his parked car carrying a handgun and ignoring their calls to drop it. In their statement, police said Officer Brentley Vinson, who also is an African-American, perceived an "imminent deadly threat" and shot Scott. Scott later died at a local hospital. Family members insisted that Scott was unarmed and was reading a book while waiting in the parking lot to pick up his son from a nearly school bus stop. Police said they recovered a weapon from the scene, not a book. Vinson has been placed on administrative leave while police conduct an investigation that includes eyewitness interviews and review of police video footage. When Scott family members took to social media to criticize police the evening of Sept. 20, people began to gather at the site of the shooting. By 11 p.m., the protest had swelled to about 1,000 people. When some protesters began throwing rocks and smashing the windows of several police cars, police used tear gas to disperse the crowd, but people continued to protest and block two roadways and, at one point, a nearby segment of Interstate 85, until early morning Sept. 21. Police arrested one person. More than a dozen police officers were slightly injured in the melee. Local television video also showed a few people looting and burning the cargo of a semi-truck that had stopped on the Interstate. Protests turned violent for a second night Sept. 21 in uptown Charlotte, about 10 miles away from the site of the fatal police shooting, with several people injured and several businesses vandalized and looted. One young man was shot in the head reportedly by another civilian. He was taken to the hospital and put on life support; he died Sept. 22. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police again used tear gas to try to clear the crowd, some of whom tried to block a section of Interstate 277 as they departed the protest area. "My heart bleeds for what is going on right now," said Gov. Pat McCrory, who declared a state of emergency late that night after a request from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney. The emergency notice triggered the North Carolina National Guard and the State Highway Patrol to assist local law enforcement in responding to the violence. "Let's pray for our city and let's pray for peace," added McCrory, who was Charlotte's mayor from 1995 to 2009. At a news conference Sept. 22, Putney said he would allow the family to view the footage, but it would not be released to the public. At St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, just a few blocks from the scene of the police shooting and the protests there, about 150 people gathered Sept. 21 to pray for peace. During the evening eucharistic adoration and benediction, Father Patrick Winslow, pastor, offered prayers for police and for people who have suffered injustice, as well as prayers for his neighborhood and the city of Charlotte. "Last evening we were all taken by surprise when two events collided here in Charlotte -- you could even say, in our own backyard," Father Winslow said. "One, the national ongoing concern about racism in law enforcement and, two, the incident of an African-American man who lost his life in an altercation with local police." "In times such as these, it is good to recall that light shines in the darkness, and it must shine through you," Father Winslow urged parishioners. "Knowing the genuine spirit of our parishioners, I am confident that you will embrace a path of peace, prayer and charity." History makes it clear, the priest said, that the light that vanquishes the darkness is not on the battlefield between nations or races, or "in the streets of Charlotte or any U.S. city." "The true battlefield is within the human heart -- within each of us," he said. "Injustice must be defeated" in the heart, the priest said. "This is where prejudice and unjust discrimination live. This is the place from which fear and darkness enter the world. And likewise, it is the place where it can be vanquished." He urged people to "storm and loot your hearts, not the streets, if you want true change for the good. Vanquish the enemy within and then you will truly help your neighbor." - - - Guilfoyle is editor of the Catholic News Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Charlotte.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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Vatican revises norms for examining alleged miracles

IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In an effort to ensure transparency as well as historical and scientific accuracy, Pope Francis has approved revised norms for the Congregation for Saints' Causes regarding medical consultations on healings alleged to be miracles. Among the regulations published by the Vatican Sept. 23 was the requirement that the medical panel have a quorum of six experts and that a two-thirds majority is needed to approve a statement declaring a healing has no natural or scientific explanation. Previously, the declaration -- a key step in a pope's recognition of a miracle attributed to the intercession of a candidate for sainthood -- required the approval of a simple majority of the consultation team members present. "The purpose of the regulation is for the good of the (saints') causes, which can never be separated from the historical and scientific truth of the alleged miracles," Archbishop Marcello Bartolucci, secretary of the congregation, said in a Sept. 23 statement. Archbishop Bartolucci presided over a seven-member commission that began revising the regulations in September 2015 to update the norms established by St. John Paul II in 1983. Except in the case of martyrs, in general two miracles are needed for a person to be declared a saint -- one for beatification and the second for canonization. The new regulations, which were approved with the pope's mandate Aug. 24 by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, also state that an alleged miracle "cannot be re-examined more than three times." For each alleged miracle, the Medical Consultation team is comprised of a maximum of seven experts; when the promoter of a cause appeals a negative judgment, a new team of physicians and medical experts must be appointed, the new norms say. The members of each consultation will remain unknown to the postulator, as the promotor of the specific cause called. A presumed miracle is first reviewed by two medical experts within the congregation, and with their recommendation is then sent to the Medical Consultation team. While the medical experts receive compensation for their work, the new regulations state that they will only be paid through wire transfer. Prior to the approval of the new norms, experts were given the option to receive cash payments for their work. Archbishop Bartolucci said the regulations will further ensure that the consultations will be carried out with "serenity, objectivity and complete security" by the medical experts. "This regulation obviously concerns only the proper functioning of the Medical Consultation, whose task is always more delicate, demanding and, thank God, appreciated inside and outside the church," he said. - - - Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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Palestinian Catholic chef says he expresses his identity through cooking

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Bright Stars By Rhina GuidosWASHINGTON (CNS) -- When he was a child, Bassem Hazboun loved helping his mother prepare French delicacies in their Bethlehem kitchen. But it was his father who kept trying to steer him to study engineering as he reached his teens. "You don't need this," his father said when Hazboun told him he wanted to take a cooking course. But the passion he found while cooking by this mother's side never left. "My food is my identity," said Hazboun, a Catholic Palestinian who traveled in September from his native Bethlehem in the West Bank to showcase food from his homeland to various U.S. cities, including Washington and Connecticut, part of the "Room for Hope" festival. The festival aims to raise money for scholarships to help youth in the Holy Land study music, dance, cooking and other arts. Chef Hazboun, 39, studied at Bethlehem University, a Catholic university in the Holy Land, and is the head of the culinary arts program at Dar al-Kalima University's College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem, which helps youth in the Holy Land hone skills in arts and culture. Hazboun said food from the Holy Land is in a way unique for Christians because some of it hails from biblical times. Sometimes he prepares biblical menus, he said, for those who arrive in the Holy Land for religious pilgrimages. This may mean a menu that includes a lentil soup, a dish of lamb and yogurt, too. Food from the Holy Land also features lots of olives, which are abundant in the region, he said, and spices you won't find elsewhere. "All the foods are special," he told Catholic News Service. In the U.S., Hazboun did several public food demonstrations and also cooked large-scale dinners so others could learn about the richness of food from the Holy Land. He prepared "musakhan," a Palestinian roasted chicken dish served with onions, pine nuts and spices over flatbread; "maqluba," which is "upside-down rice, meat and vegetables"; "mansaf," lamb with yogurt sauce served with flatbread and rice; and 14 types of Arabic salads. It's important for him, he said, to help his students develop a love for the food of their region and to see something positive about their identity as Palestinians through the craft. It's a love that many of them can share with others and can also allow them to stay in the Holy Land, where work for Palestinians is scarce. Luckily, with tourism, many of them are able to find jobs at restaurants in Bethlehem, he said. "Sometimes I visit the restaurant and they feed me good," said Hazboun. Beth Nelson Chase, executive director of Bright Stars Bethlehem in the U.S., the nonprofit that sponsored the festival, said programs such as the ones chef Hazboun teaches in Bethlehem help students learn skills that are useful for the economy of their homelands, where coming across a job can sometimes prove difficult. "It gives people hope," Chase said. The Rev. Mitri Raheb, a Lutheran pastor and president of Bright Stars of Bethlehem, said in a statement that the events focusing on the arts and food of the Holy Land were part of the mission of building cultural bridges "important for both the U.S. and Palestine." "We are excited to expose our friends in the U.S. to Palestinian culture and art," he said.- - -Follow Guidos on Twitter: @CNS_Rhina.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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Retired Archbishop Gerety of Newark dies at 104

IMAGE: CNS photo/Diocese of NewarkBy TOTOWA, N.J. (CNS) -- Retired Archbishop Peter L. Gerety of Newark died Sept. 20 while in the care of the Little Sisters of the Poor at the order's elder-care facility in Totowa. He was 104.According to a remembrance of Archbishop Gerety posted Sept. 21 by the Archdiocese of Newark on its website, Archbishop Gerety was the world's oldest Catholic bishop at the time of his death. By 2007, when he was 95, he was already the oldest living U.S. bishop.Archbishop Gerety's body will be received at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart the afternoon of Sept. 25 for the viewing, which will last until 6:30 p.m. local time. On Sept. 26, a 3 p.m. funeral Mass will follow a four-hour period for viewing. Newark Archbishop John J. Myers will be the main celebrant of the Mass, to be followed immediately by internment in the crypt of the cathedral basilica.Archbishop Myers in a Sept. 21 statement called Archbishop Gerety "a remarkable churchman whose love for the people of God was always strong and ever-growing.""He served as shepherd of this great archdiocese during a time of spiritual reawakening in the years after the Second Vatican Council, and a time of deep financial difficulties," he added. "He very carefully led the church, her people and institutions through those challenges." Archbishop Gerety had been retired as head of the Newark Archdiocese for 30 years at the time of his death. He was Newark's archbishop for 12 years. Before that he spent five years as the bishop of Portland, Maine; he had been coadjutor bishop of the statewide diocese for three years prior. During his tenure in Newark, Archbishop Gerety helped create Renew International, the parish renewal program still in wide use among U.S. parishes today. Renew also has created several other parish renewal programs, including one that has been used in more than two dozen countries outside the United States. Because Renew's use was so widespread, Archbishop Gerety asked the U.S. bishops' Committee on Doctrine in 1988 to evaluate it. Some groups in dioceses where it was being used were publicly critical of it. The committee's report praised many aspects of Renew, but said participants needed to be given a more complete understanding of Catholic faith and doctrine, and small-group leaders were to be more than just facilitators who accepted all the participants' contributions as equally valid. Revisions suggested by the committee were made. In a 2007 interview with The Catholic Advocate, Newark's archdiocesan newspaper, he noted how he had been ordained a bishop shortly after the close of the Second Vatican Council. He noticed one important change was a shift from the "top-down" mentality that had prevailed at that time in the church. Archbishop Gerety said the liturgy "improved tremendously" at that time, centering on increased participation among laypeople. Another major change he saw was the formation of parish councils and similar programs. In fact, he said one of his prized possessions was a stone tablet inscribed with a pledge he made in his early days in Newark when he said in a speech on April 18, 1975: "I am totally committed to parish councils by April 15, 1976." Born July 19, 1912, in Shelton, Connecticut, Leo -- as his parents called him -- won academic honors at Shelton High School and was captain of the football team. He was the eldest of nine sons.His mother and father, Peter L. and Charlotte Daly Gerety, "had a tremendous religious faith, and a tremendously optimistic view of life. They loved life very much. They taught us we could do almost anything," the archbishop once said. After working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the New Jersey Transportation Department, the future archbishop entered St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and was chosen for study abroad at St. Sulpice Seminary in Issy, France. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, in 1939 at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris. One hallmark of his service in the Archdiocese of Hartford was ministry to black Catholics in New Haven. He founded an interracial social and religious center, the St. Martin de Porres Center, which gained parish status in 1956 with then-Father Gerety as its first pastor. In the 1960s, he founded the New Haven chapter of the Urban League and was a member of the Connecticut State Committee on Race and Religion and the National Catholic Conference on Interracial Justice. As bishop of Portland, Archbishop Gerety was active in pro-life and social justice causes, led campaigns to protest state legislative efforts to legalize abortion, and defended the rights of conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War. In Newark, Archbishop Gerety expanded outreach to black and Hispanic Catholics, and shored up a deteriorating archdiocesan financial base. On a national stage, he was known for his work with the Call to Action Committee, formed at the time of the U.S. bicentennial celebration in 1976 to address and discuss the needs U.S. Catholics.The eldest of nine brothers, Archbishop Gerety outlived all of them. He is survived by many nephews and nieces, as well as their children.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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Pope Francis, MD: Using medical metaphors to provoke, explain

By Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has proven to be a master of metaphor and, as fall approached, he increasingly turned to the field of medicine to make his points. Of course, probably his most famous medical metaphor is his repeated description of the church today as a "field hospital." In his 2013 interview with the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, he said: "I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds." At his early morning Mass Sept. 22, he showed that while triage might be his specialty, he is familiar with a range of ailments. Speaking about people who have done evil and know it, Pope Francis said, they live "with a constant itch, with hives that don't leave them in peace." But his strongest words were about the sins of vanity and pride. "Vanity is like an osteoporosis of the soul: the bones seem good from the outside, but on the inside they are all ruined." The 79-year-old pope also referred to a medical ailment -- "rheumatism of the soul" -- during his speech Sept. 16 to new bishops, many of whom are still in their 40s and 50s. Talking about the need for and the attractive power of mercy, Pope Francis said that when people in need sense a merciful person is passing by, they will reach out. "They are fascinated by (mercy's) capacity to stop when so many walk on by; to kneel when a certain rheumatism of the soul keeps many from bending down; to touch wounded flesh when a preference for everything to be sterile prevails," he said. Another medical problem afflicting souls diagnosed by Pope Francis is "spiritual Alzheimer's," a condition that renders some people incapable of remembering God's love and mercy for them; a clear sign of having the condition is being unable to show mercy to others. When a Christian does not recognize his or her own failings, it is easy to be scandalized by God's mercy toward other sinners, he said in a video message broadcast Aug. 27 to church leaders from North and South America meeting in Bogota, Colombia, for a continental congress for the Year of Mercy. Being shocked, scandalized and judgmental sets in when a person suffers from "spiritual Alzheimer's," the pope said. The disease is obvious "when we forget how the Lord has treated us, when we begin to judge and divide people up" into "groups of good and bad, saints and sinners."- - -Follow Wooden on Twitter: @Cindy_Wooden.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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Archbishop: Study shows 'urgent need' for dialogue with other faiths

By WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The findings of a recent Georgetown University study on how Catholics regard Muslims show an "urgent need" to "cultivate positive dialogue" not just among Catholics and Muslims, but with other faith traditions as well, according to Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago. "Experience has shown that when people of different faith traditions build personal relationships and engage in dialogue to learn about one another, they develop the capacity to work together; and they come to appreciate the positive elements in one another's traditions," said a Sept. 21 statement by Archbishop Cupich, the Catholic co-chairman of the National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue. According to a survey of 1,027 Catholics, nearly half of Catholics can't name any similarities between Catholicism and Islam. When asked about the overall impression of Muslims, three in 10 Catholics admit to having unfavorable views, and Catholics are less likely than the general American public to know a Muslim personally. The survey results were published Sept. 12 in the study "Danger & Dialogue: American Catholic Public Opinion and Portrayals of Islam." It was conducted by a research group with Georgetown University's Bridge Initiative,which studies Islamophobia. Dialogue was "strongly advocated" by the Second Vatican Council in its document "Nostra Aetate," Archbishop Cupich said. The document addressed the relations of the Catholic Church with other religions. "As 'Nostra Aetate' teaches, with them (members of other faiths) we should 'make common cause of safeguarding and fostering social justice, moral values, peace and freedom,'" he added."No one should dismiss the real threats that some Muslims who embrace a radical ideology, such as the members of the Islamic State, present to people of all faiths," Archbishop Cupich said. "That is why it is now even more important to promote ongoing encounter, dialogue and education between our two great faith traditions." When dialogue is absent, he added, "we see an increase in the tendency to be negative about those who are different from ourselves. This diminishes all of us, as we face increasing incidents of religious intolerance across the globe." "It is incumbent upon Catholics to recognize and raise up the positive voices from the Muslim world who clearly reject violence by practicing and teaching an Islam of peace, compassion and mercy." The Georgetown report seemed to indicate that U.S. Catholics should take their cue from Pope Francis regarding Islam and interreligious efforts, quoting from his apostolic exhortation, "The Joy of the Gospel": "Our relationship with the followers of Islam has taken on great importance, since they are now significantly present in many traditionally Christian countries." - - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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Christians aren't greater than God, must forgive as he does, pope says

IMAGE: CNS photo/Remo Casilli, ReutersBy Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- God wants people to be merciful, which means forgiving others and giving freely with love, Pope Francis said. "We don't have the power to condemn our brother who makes a mistake, we are not above him. Rather we have a duty to return him to the dignity of a son of the father and to accompany him on his path of conversion," the pope said Sept. 21 at his weekly general audience. In his talk, the pope focused on a reading from the Gospel of Luke (6:36-38) in which Jesus tells the disciples to stop judging others and be merciful just as God is. The motto for the Year of Mercy, "Merciful Like the Father," comes from this biblical verse, the pope said. But more than a pithy catchphrase, the motto is a lifelong commitment to give to others the love one has received -- without merit -- from God, he said. It is a call to reflect upon all that God does for humanity so as to be inspired "to be like him, full of love, compassion and mercy," he said. But what does it mean to be merciful, the pope asked his audience. Jesus said it means to forgive and to give, he said. Mercy is shown by forgiving and not judging and condemning, the pope said. "A Christian must forgive," he said. "Why? Because he was forgiven! All of us here in the square have been forgiven, not one of us never needed God's forgiveness in life." "If God has forgiven me, why shouldn't I forgive others? Am I greater than God?" the pope said, underlining that "judging and condemning one's brother who sins is wrong." "Not because one doesn't want to recognize the sin, but because to condemn the sinner breaks the bond of fraternity with him and ignores the mercy of God, who does not want to give up on any of his children." By asking his disciples not to condemn, "Jesus does not mean to undermine the course of human justice," Pope Francis said, rather he shows that suspending judgment is needed to hold together a Christian community and maintain fraternal ties. The other essential element of mercy, he said, is that it is freely giving to others because it flows from having received such abundant gifts from God. Also, by giving to others, God will return that measure once again, showing "it is we ourselves who decide how we will be judged" after death, the pope said. For a Christian, he said, merciful love is the only path to follow. "We all need to be a little more merciful, to not badmouth others, not judge, not rip people apart with criticism, envy, jealousy," he said. By giving and forgiving, he said, one's heart will expand with love, while selfishness and hatred will turn the heart into a hard, tiny stone. "Which do you want?" he asked. When people in the audience shouted "no" to having "a heart of stone" and "yes" to a heart filled with love, the pope said, "then be merciful."- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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Scholars reaffirm Catholic teaching against artificial birth control

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler OrsburnBy WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A group of Catholic scholars Sept. 20 reaffirmed the Catholic Church's teaching on "the gift of sexuality" and its long-standing prohibition on artificial birth control as outlined in "Humanae Vitae," Blessed Paul VI's 1968 encyclical. In a statement released in Washington, they rejected calls for the church to change its teaching by another group that issued a statement the same day at the United Nations. "We, the undersigned scholars, affirm that the Catholic Church's teachings on the gift of sexuality, on marriage and on contraception are true and defensible on many grounds, among them the truths of reason and revelation concerning the dignity of the human person," they said. The scholars said the "church's constant and consistent teaching on human sexuality," as explained in "Humanae Vitae," "has been reaffirmed" by every pope since its release, most recently by Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" ("The Joy of Love"), released in April. Signatories include: Richard Fehring, professor emeritus and director, Marquette University's Institute for Natural Family Planning; professor Angela Franks, director of theology programs for the Theological Institute for the New Evangelization, St. John's Seminary in Massachusetts; John Haas, president, National Catholic Bioethics Center, Philadelphia; and George Weigel, senior fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington. "Scholarly support for the church's teachings on the gift of sexuality, on marriage and on contraception has burgeoned in recent decades," they said. "Moreover, institutes and programs supporting that teaching have been established all over the world. Even some secular feminists and secular programs have begun to acknowledge the harms of contraception." The other statement, issued at the U.N., was from an ecumenical group of Catholic and other moral theologians, ethicists and economists from around the world, under the auspices of Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research, based in England. "Our goal is to encourage the Catholic hierarchy to reverse their stance against so-called 'artificial' contraceptives," said the Wijngaards group, which claimed "Humanae Vitae" ("Of Human Life") is based on faulty reasoning.  "The decision to use modern contraceptives can be taken for a variety of morally worthy motives, and so it can be responsible and ethical," it said in its statement, "On the Ethics of Using Contraceptives." Signatories of the Wijngaards declaration include Father Charles Curran, who in the 1980s was told by the Vatican that he no longer had permission to teach as a Catholic theologian because of his dissenting positions on church teaching about sexual morality. Another signer is Father Peter Phan, who teaches at Georgetown University; his writings on religious relativism, or that many faiths offer valid spiritual paths, came under scrutiny by the Vatican. The homepage of the institute's website describes the organization's mission as "promoting gender equality and shared decision-making in the church." The Wijngaards group said it was invited to present its statement at the United Nations Sept. 20. Copies were being made available "to all U.N. departments and development agencies ... trying to navigate the relationship between religious belief and women's health as they work toward the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals," it said. "We cannot pretend that it is still 1968 or ignore the harm done by the sexual revolution," said John Grabowski, associate professor of moral theology and ethics at The Catholic University in Washington. Grabowski, who was an expert at the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the Family, made the comments in a Sept. 20 news release about the scholars' statement released in Washington. "Unfortunately, the Wijngaards statement fails to acknowledge the vindication of the teaching of Blessed Paul VI over the last 48 years by the sciences, the social sciences, and its further elaboration by the teaching of St. John Paul II and its support from Pope Francis," he said. During a Sept. 20 news conference at Catholic University, a theology professor stressed that the statement presented to the U.N. failed to take into account the spiritual benefits of church teaching against artificial birth control, which allows for "fertility-awareness based methods of family planning." "There are great benefits to natural family planning," said Janet Smith, who holds the Father Michael J. McGivney chair of life ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and has served as a consultor to the Pontifical Council on the Family. She said natural family planning improves marriages and brings people closer to God, their spouses and their children. It's also green since it is free and causes no harm to the environment. Smith, who addressed the news conference by Skype, said when she first learned of the Wijngaards statement a few weeks ago, she planned to simply write a response to it, but the reaction grew larger and became "an opportunity for us to show the world there are many, many Catholics who support 'Humanae Vitae.'" She speculated that if the ages of signers of the two different documents could be compared, she would guess that those who signed the document presented to the U.N. were at least 15 years older because she said many younger Catholics support the church's teaching on contraception, particularly those influenced by St. John Paul II's "theology of the body" -- teachings on human sexuality. Grabowski and Mary Hasson, who directs the Catholic Women's Forum at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, also spoke at the news conference and stressed that the church's teaching on contraception offers something beyond biology. Grabowski noted that there will be much more to say on this teaching as the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae approaches in 2018.The scholars' statement said the Wijngaards declaration "misdirects the conversation from the start by claiming that the argument against 'Humanae Vitae' is based primarily on 'biological laws.' 'Humanae Vitae' instead focuses, as it should, on the person's relationship to God and other persons." "God is love. ... Because God is love -- a communion of divine persons -- he made men and women in his image: able to reason and to choose freely, with the capacity to love and to be in loving relationships," the statement said. "God invites all people to share in his love. ... Every person is created to make a gift of self to God and others," it continued. "The gift of self means living in a way that promotes the good of everyone, especially those with whom one is in close relationship." Marriage "was designed by God to enable a man and a woman to live out humanity's core identity and lovers and givers of life. ... Human sexual relations fulfill God's intent only when they respect the procreative meaning of the sexual act and involve a complete gift of self between married partners." Quoting "Humanae Vitae," the group said: "There is an unbreakable connection between the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning ... and both are inherent in the marital act. ... The teaching that contraception is always against God's plan for sexuality, marriage and happiness is not based on human law," the group said. The statement also said that to live out "God's design for married love," husbands and wives need "moral family planning methods," which are available to them in "the many forms of natural family planning." Natural methods based on fertility awareness "are fully consistent with the church's teaching on marital chastity." "Several well-argued versions of 'natural law' defenses support the church's teaching that contraception is not in accord with God's plan for sexuality and marriage," it said, noting that St. John Paul II's theology of the body "provides a powerful defense" of the teaching in "Humanae Vitae." "Humanae Vitae" also "speaks against the distorted view of human sexuality and intimate relationships that many in the modern world promote," it added. - - -Contributing to this report was Carol Zimmermann in Washington.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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No war is holy, pope says at interreligious peace gathering

IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Junno Arocho EstevesASSISI, Italy (CNS) -- Violence in the name of God does not represent the true nature of religion and must be condemned by all faiths, Pope Francis said. "We never tire of repeating that the name of God cannot be used to justify violence. Peace alone, and not war, is holy!" the pope said Sept. 20 at the closing ceremony of an interreligious peace gathering in Assisi. Following a prayer service with Christian leaders, including Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, the pope joined religious leaders from around the world to appeal for peace and unity. The religious leaders also heard the experience of a victim of war from the Syrian city of Aleppo and prayed for those who had died in conflicts around the world. In his speech, the pope called on believers of every faith "to confront the great sickness of our time: indifference." "It is a virus that paralyzes, rendering us lethargic and insensitive, a disease that eats away at the very heart of religious fervor, giving rise to a new and deeply sad paganism: the paganism of indifference," he said. Recalling the look on the faces of the refugees he and Patriarch Bartholomew met on the Greek island of Lesbos in April, the pope called on religious believers to not remain indifferent to the suffering of others but instead to be the voice of those unheard. "I am thinking of the families, whose lives have been shattered; of the children who have known only violence in their lives; of the elderly, forced to leave their homeland. All of them have a great thirst for peace," he said. "We do not want these tragedies to be forgotten." True peace, he said, is not a result of "negotiations, political compromises or economic bargaining, but the result of prayer." A peace "that is not illusory," the pope said, must be accomplished through concrete actions of assistance to those in need and cannot be achieved with "the 'virtual' approach of one who judges everything and everyone using a computer keyboard, without opening his eyes to the needs of his brothers and sisters, and dirtying his hands for those in need." In continuing the legacy of the 1986 peace gathering St. John Paul II held in Assisi, faith leaders must join together in denouncing the use of religion to justify violence. "Violence in all its forms does not represent the true nature of religion. It is the antithesis of religion and contributes to its destruction," the pope said. Pope Francis called on religious leaders to "free ourselves from the heavy burden of distrust, fundamentalism and hate" and instead be "artisans of peace" through prayer and action. As religious leaders, he said, "we are duty bound to be strong bridges of dialogue, creative mediators of peace." "Let us assume this responsibility, reaffirming today our 'yes' to being, together, builders of the peace that God wishes for us and for which humanity thirsts," the pope said. - - - Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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Pope, Christian leaders pray for peace, victims of war

IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Junno Arocho EstevesASSISI, Italy (CNS) -- Jesus' cry of thirst on the cross is heard today in the cries of innocent victims of war in the world, Pope Francis said. Christians are called to contemplate Christ in "the voice of the suffering, the hidden cry of the little innocent ones to whom the light of this world is denied," the pope said Sept. 20 at a prayer service in Assisi with other Christian leaders, including Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury. Far too often the victims of war "encounter the deafening silence of indifference, the selfishness of those annoyed at being pestered, the coldness of those who silence their cry for help with the same ease with which television channels are changed," the pope said in his meditation. The pope arrived in the morning by helicopter and was whisked away to the Sacred Convent near the Basilica of St. Francis. After arriving in a blue Volkswagen, the pope raised his arms to embrace Patriarch Bartholomew and, together, the two greeted the other religious leaders present. Archbishop Welby, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of Antioch and leaders of the Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist communities also welcomed the pope to Assisi. Several refugees were among those who greeted the pope, including a young Yezidi woman from Iraq's Sinjar district who survived the August 2014 massacre committed by the Islamic State. "I want to thank you for praying for the Yezidis and your support for acknowledging our genocide," she told the pope. "You have suffered a lot. I pray, I will pray for you with all my heart," the pope said as he placed his hand over his heart. After having lunch with a dozen refugees and victims of war, Pope Francis and the Christian leaders went to pray in the lower Basilica of St. Francis. Members of other religions went to different locations in Assisi to offer prayers for peace in their own traditions. During the solemn celebration, prayers were offered for countries where violence and conflicts continue to cause suffering for innocent men, women and children. One by one, several young men and women placed lit candles in a round stand as an acolyte read the names of each country, including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Nigeria and Ukraine. The prayer service began with a Liturgy of the Word, which included a meditation after each reading. Reflecting on the first reading from the prophet Isaiah, Archbishop Welby said that the world today "struggles to distinguish between what something costs and what it is worth." Despite this, God responds with "infinite love and mercy" and offers to receive from him freely because "in God's economy we are the poorest of the poor; poorer than ever because we think ourselves rich," he said. "Our money and wealth is like the toy money in a children's game: It may buy goods in our human economies which seem so powerful, but in the economy of God it is worthless. We are only truly rich when we accept mercy from God, through Christ our Savior," he said. Christians are called to be rich in God's mercy by listening to him in the voice of the poor, by partaking in the Eucharist, by coming to him through his mercy. "We are to be those who enable others to be merciful to those with whom they are in conflict. We are called to be Christ's voice to the hopeless, calling, 'come to the waters' in a world of drought and despair, giving away with lavish generosity what we have received in grace-filled mercy," Archbishop Welby said. Patriarch Bartholomew commented on the second reading from the book of Revelation in which God calls "all who are thirsty come: all who want it may have the water of life, and have it free." Christians from around the world, he said, answered God's call in Assisi "to invoke the Lord for the greatest of his gifts -- peace -- from him, the king of peace." Jesus comes to all who thirst for peace, he continued. However, Christians must experience an inner conversion in order to listen to him through "the cry of our neighbor," to experience a true conversion and to give prophetic witness through fellowship. "Then we shall offer living water to the thirsty, endless water, water of peace to a peaceless world, water that is prophecy, and all shall listen to Jesus, who will thrice say: 'Surely I am coming soon,'" Patriarch Bartholomew said. In his meditation, Pope Francis reflected on Jesus' words on the cross, "I thirst," which he said was not only a thirst for water but also for love. Like St. Francis of Assisi who was upset by the reality that "love is not loved," the pope said Christians are called to contemplate Christ Crucified in those "who thirst for love." He also recalled the example of St. Teresa of Kolkata, who asked that all Missionaries of Charity houses have Jesus' words, "I thirst," inscribed in their chapels next to the crucifix. "Her response was to quench Jesus' thirst for love on the cross through service to the poorest of the poor," Pope Francis said. "The Lord's thirst is indeed quenched by our compassionate love; he is consoled when, in his name, we bend down to another's suffering." In response to Jesus' thirst, he said, Christians are challenged to hear the cry of the poor, suffering and the innocent victims of war. Those who "live under the threat of bombs" and are forced to flee from their homes are "the wounded and parched members of his body, he said. "They thirst." However, all too often they are offered only "the bitter vinegar of rejection." Pope Francis called on Christians to be "trees of life that absorb the contamination of indifference and restore the pure air of love to the world." "From the side of Christ on the cross water flowed, that symbol of the Spirit who gives life so that, from us, his faithful compassion may flow forth for all who thirst today," the pope said. - - - Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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Listen to war victims' cries, feel shame, pray for peace, pope says

By Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Humanity should feel ashamed it can wage war, kill the innocent, bomb cities and prevent food and medicine from reaching survivors, Pope Francis said. "There is no god of war," he said. Violence and division are the work of the devil who "wants to kill everyone," and that is why people need to come together and pray for peace, united in the conviction that "God is a God of peace," he said Sept. 20, a world day of prayer for peace. Just a few hours before heading to an interreligious gathering in the Italian town of Assisi, Pope Francis dedicated his homily to peace during morning Mass in the chapel of his residence. The pope and some 450 religious leaders from around the world were marking the 30th anniversary of the first interreligious meeting and prayer for peace organized by St. John Paul II in 1986. Men and women representing the world's religions were going to Assisi, "not to put on a show, but simply to pray and pray for peace," Pope Francis said in his morning homily. The world is at war and suffering, and no one can remain indifferent to that, he said, quoting the last verse of the day's first reading from the Book of Proverbs: "He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will himself also call and not be heard." "If we today shut our ear to the cry of these people who suffer being bombed, who suffer exploitation by arms traffickers, it could be that when it's our turn no one will respond to us," he said. Perhaps "we don't see" war personally or "we get frightened" by an act of terrorism, he said. But none of that can compare to what is happening in some parts of the world "where day and night, the bombs fall and fall ... killing children, the elderly, men and women." War, in fact, really isn't that far away at all, he added. "War touches everyone" because "war begins in the heart." The pope prayed that God would "give us peace in our heart, eliminate every urge for avarice, greediness, conflict." He prayed that people's hearts would be the hearts of men and women of peace and that they would be able to see beyond religious differences "because we are all children of God." While he and the leaders were praying in Assisi, he asked that everyone pray and "feel shame. Shame for this: that human beings, our brothers and sisters, are capable of doing this," of killing and wounding others and carrying out bombing campaigns that prevent the delivery of needed food and medicine. Think of the children and elderly, he said, who are "starving and ill." The Assisi peace day, he said, is a day of prayer, penance and "weeping for peace," a day to hear the cry of the poor, which opens the heart to mercy and love, and "saves us from self-centeredness."- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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Failure of ecumenism would imprison mercy, Anglican archbishop says

IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Junno Arocho EstevesASSISI, Italy (CNS) -- Churches that are not reconciled with one another weaken the experience of mercy that unites believers to God and with each other, Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury said. By not reconciling with one other, "our worship is diminished and our capacity to grow close together with God is reduced," he said Sept. 20 in Assisi during a discussion on ecumenism. "The failure of ecumenism imprisons mercy and prevents its liberation and its power with one another," he said. Speaking before Pope Francis arrived in Assisi for an interreligious peace meeting, Archbishop Welby joined other Christian leaders exploring how love, charity and mercy help foster peace and unity among Christian denominations. Mercy is the "engine of reconciliation," Archbishop Welby said, and it is "the source of our capacity for the evangelization of the world in which we live." "Mercy begins with the mercy that each of us experiences in the sacrament of reconciliation; the knowledge that we ourselves are accepted," he said. Suffering and martyrdom, the archbishop added, also unite Christians and are a visible sign of ecumenism for the world. "If we do not suffer together, we do not know the meaning of the ecumenism of mercy," he said. "When they kill us, they do not ask if we are Anglican, Presbyterian, Catholic or Orthodox; we are one in Christ for them. So why are we divided when they are not killing us?" Echoing Jesus' prayer "that they may be one so that the world may know that I come from the Father," Archbishop Welby said that the evangelization of the world "depends on that ecumenism of mercy." While they may have theological differences, he said, Christians must learn to "disagree well" and "learn to love one another with good disagreement." Evangelization depends on the visible sign of love and unity. If not, churches will be unable "to carry out Jesus' command to go out into the world," he said. "It depends on the world seeing visibly that we belong to one another and that we love one another," Archbishop Welby said. "Without that, we have nothing to say to a world that is incapable of resolving its own differences." - - - Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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Exhibit of St. Thomas More artifacts debuts at St. John Paul II shrine

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler OrsburnBy Mark PattisonWASHINGTON (CNS) -- A new exhibit featuring artifacts revolving around St. Thomas More has opened at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington. Titled "God's Servant First: The Life and Legacy of Thomas More," the exhibit runs through March 31. The title comes from what are believed to be More's last words before going to the chopping block where he was beheaded: "I die the king's good servant, and God's servant first." Nearly all of the 60 or so items in the exhibit come from Stonyhurst College in England, according to Jan Graffius, the curator of collections at Stonyhurst, a Jesuit institution. The Knights of Columbus and Stonyhurst's Christian Heritage Center organized the exhibit and are its sponsors.To be able to have so many artifacts is remarkable, Graffius told Catholic News Service Sept. 15, the day before the exhibit opened, as she and her team were putting the finishing touches on the exhibit. King Henry VIII, who had St. Thomas More imprisoned in the Tower of London for more than a year before his execution, and subsequent monarchs had made Roman Catholicism virtually illegal and had all traces of Catholicism wiped out. St. Thomas More, a lawyer and the first layman to serve as chancellor of England, had balked at helping Henry VIII obtain an annulment so he could marry Anne Boleyn in hopes of bearing him a son to be heir to the throne. After the pope denied the annulment, Henry declared himself head of the church in England, conferring upon himself the power to divorce and marry whomever he pleased. More, who also was a husband and father, resigned his position as chancellor to the throne to avoid being forced to acknowledge Henry VIII as head of the church. But after a law was passed requiring acknowledgment by all Britons of Henry's authority, More refused to sign a document stating as such. He was ultimately imprisoned, convicted of a capital treason with the help of perjured testimony, and beheaded. He has since been seen as a champion of conscience rights. The luckless first wife of Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, spent her last days before her own death, possibly from poisoning, embroidering grapes onto a chasuble. That chasuble is in the exhibit. Anne Boleyn wasn't all that lucky, either. After bearing a daughter -- Elizabeth I -- and later miscarrying, she fell into Henry's disfavor, was imprisoned on trumped-up charges of adultery, incest and treason, was herself beheaded 11 months after Thomas More, and buried not far from him, Graffius said. Two relics in the exhibit made their way to the United States a few months ahead of the rest of the artifacts. One is a jawbone fragment of St. Thomas More; the other is a ring worn by St. John Fisher, who was also martyred under Henry VIII. Both were on exhibit during the U.S. bishops' "Fortnight for Freedom" activities in June and July.The anti-Catholic laws imposed by Henry VIII stayed on the books in England for nearly three centuries until they were repealed in 1829. In 1886, St. Thomas More was beatified. In 1935, both he and St. John Fisher, who had been executed a few months before More, were both canonized. St. Thomas More was added to the Anglican calendar of saints in 1980.Because of the anti-Catholic laws, Graffius said, Catholic parents had to sneak their children out of the country, sometimes under false identities, so they could receive a Catholic education. One of those schools was in the Spanish Netherlands -- mostly modern-day Belgium and Luxembourg -- and was the forerunner to Stonyhurst College. St. Thomas More was part of the martyrology proclaimed every day at the school. The exhibit includes a schoolbook used by two cousins who eventually made their way to the United States. On one page of the book, an illustration of two men was defaced when one of the students sketched the men as smoking pipes. To this day, she added, nobody knows whether the pipes were added by John Carroll, the first Catholic archbishop in the United States, or his cousin Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. In 2000, St. John Paul II made St. Thomas More, who had already been the patron saint of lawyers, the patron saint of statesman and politicians. The pontiff said his life and martyrdom offered a testimony that "spans the centuries" and "speaks to people everywhere of the inalienable dignity of the human conscience."Patrick Kelly, the shrine's executive director, said in a statement that St. Thomas More's example "remains thoroughly modern.""He is an eloquent example of courageous Christian discipleship, and it is our hope that this exhibit will inspire others to imitate his virtues and his extraordinary fidelity to God and to a well-formed conscience," Kelly added.The exhibit comes during the golden anniversary of the 1966 film biography of St. Thomas More, "A Man for All Seasons." Recently restored with a new Technicolor print, "A Man for All Seasons" -- based on the stage play of the same name -- grossed the fifth-best box office numbers of the year, a stunning accomplishment given that it wasn't released until Dec. 12 that year and the weightiness of its subject matter. The movie was nominated for eight Oscars and won six, including Best Picture, Best Director for Fred Zinneman and Best Actor for Paul Scofield as Thomas More. It also won five British Academy Film Awards and four Golden Globes, as well as a Best Actor award for Scofield at the Moscow International Film Festival.- - -Follow Pattison on Twitter: @MeMarkPattison.  - - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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Legacy of 1986 peace gathering lingers in Assisi

IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Junno Arocho EstevesASSISI, Italy (CNS) -- Religious leaders celebrating the 30th anniversary of St. John Paul II's Assisi interfaith peace gathering in 1986 called on people from around the world to continue its legacy to combat today's indifference and violence. The event Sept. 18-20 was sponsored by the Rome-based Community of Sant'Egidio, the Diocese of Assisi and the Franciscan friars to reflect on the theme, "Thirst for Peace: Faiths and Cultures in Dialogue." At the opening assembly, attended by Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople said, peace "starts from within and radiates outward, from local to global." "Thus, peace requires an interior conversion, a change in policies and behaviors," he said. Humanity's relationship with creation "has a direct impact on the way in which it acts toward other people," said the patriarch, known for his decades of work on the connection between Christian spirituality and ecology. "Any ecological activity will be judged by the consequences it has for the lives of the poor," he said. "The pollution problem is linked to that of poverty." Recalling his visit to the Greek island of Lesbos with Pope Francis, the patriarch said they saw examples of how the world has treated migrants "with exclusion and violence." Echoing Patriarch Bartholomew's sentiments, Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio, said the spirit of the 1986 Assisi meeting is still alive, despite a "complex and fragmented time with its challenges," particularly with new fears arising due to war and migration. The "simple and profound" gesture of religious leaders standing together for peace, he said, "gave witness to their respective faithful that it was possible to live together." "Dialogue is the intelligence to live together: either we live together or together we will die," he said. The meeting featured dozens of interreligious panel discussions on topics ranging from the environment and migration to dialogue and the media. Discussing the 30th anniversary of the 1986 peace gathering and its relevance today, Bishop Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, said, "The spirit of Assisi is not a vague feeling, a sentimentalism or nostalgic memory," but an example that "peace is not possible without prayer." "Prayer is one of the means for implementing God's design among people," he said. "It is apparent that the world cannot give peace; it is a gift from God that we must ask from him through prayers." The religious leaders who were gathering to pray for peace, he added, are "here to show that religion is not the problem but is part of the solution to bring peace and harmony in our societies." "I hope that the spirit of Assisi may be deeply rooted in our hearts so that it can keep enlightening this world that is marked by the darkness of hatred and violence," he said. Mohammad Sammak, secretary general of Lebanon's Christian-Muslim Committee for Dialogue, stressed the need to promote "the message of the spirit of Assisi to all nations" in order for peace to prevail, particularly between Christians and Muslims. While differences exist between the two faiths, he said, "it does not mean that we have to be the enemy of one another." On the contrary, the differences between religions can complement and complete each other. "And this process of common belief and common respect is manifested in the spirit of Assisi," Sammak said. Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka, a longtime friend of Pope Francis, also addressed the panel and lamented that violence, hate and uncertainty "has become more and more one of the characteristics of human reality." He also denounced the "exacerbated egoism" prevalent in politics today and racist overtones by individuals who "are holding leadership positions in well-established democratic countries." "Uncertainty about the future to come and no clear ethical rules respected by peoples and nations build the best scenario for the rise of demagogic and corrupted leaders," Skorka said. However, despite humanity's worsening condition, he said, the "voice calling for justice, peace and love" that emerged in1986 "has not been silenced." "The spiritual fire lit then gathers us today," he said. "The hope of peace, which is the core of Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths, continues palpitating in the hearts of many," he said. - - - Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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Best way to fight terrorism is to warmly welcome refugees, pope says

IMAGE: CNS photo/Nikos Arvanidtis, EPABy Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Offering migrants and refugees truly helpful and loving hospitality is the greatest guarantee against terrorism, Pope Francis said. The current refugee and migration crisis, with more than 65 million people forcibly displaced from their homes, has become "the greatest humanitarian crisis after the Second World War," he said. "At this place and time in history, there is great need for men and women who hear the cry of the poor and respond with mercy and generosity," he told graduates of Jesuit schools and universities during an audience at the Vatican Sept. 17. The alumni are members of the World Union and the European Confederation of Jesuit Alumni; they were in Rome taking part in a conference on the migration and refugee crisis. The pope told them that with their Jesuit education and understanding of Gospel values, they can help the church "respond more fully to the human tragedy of refugees through acts of mercy that promote their integration into the European context and beyond." "I encourage you to welcome refugees into your homes and communities, so that their first experience of Europe is not the traumatic experience of sleeping cold on the streets, but one of warm human welcome," he said. "Remember that authentic hospitality is a profound Gospel value that nurtures love and is our greatest security against hateful acts of terrorism," he added. Too many refugee children and young people lack access to education, he said, urging the alumni to work with the Jesuit Refugee Service and "put your mercy in motion" to help "build a stronger Europe and a brighter future for refugees." He told his audience to remember they were not alone as many church organizations and individuals were also dedicated to helping the marginalized and excluded. "Remember that the love of God accompanies you in this work. You are God's eyes, mouth, hands and heart in this world.""I urge you to help transform your communities into places of welcome where all God's children have the opportunity not simply to survive, but to grow, flourish and bear fruit," he said. - - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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Mercy must be Vatican diplomats' secret code, pope says

IMAGE: CNS/L'Osservatore RomanoBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A nuncio is not simply a "diplomat in a (priest's) collar," but must truly be a priest and bishop who listens, supports and serves as a channel of God's mercy, Pope Francis said. Spending much of the day Sept. 17 with 106 archbishops who represent him and the Vatican in countries around the world, Pope Francis thanked the nuncios for their constant willingness to pack up, move to a new country, learn a new language and deal with new challenges. And, he said, he knew that every four or five years they get another "sugarcoated" phone call from Rome and do it all again. Gathered at the Vatican from their posts around the world, the nuncios had meetings, Masses and prayer services as part of their Year of Mercy celebration. At an early morning Mass, a mid-morning meeting and a luncheon in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the pope looked at their personal lives as priests, their service to local churches as his representative and their diplomatic service in a world often marked by conflict, fear and attempts to limit religious freedom. "One of my deepest concerns regards the selection of future bishops," he told the nuncios, who have the task of identifying potential candidates for vacant dioceses, consulting with people who know them, evaluating their suitability and forwarding their names to the Vatican. A good candidate, he said, must be an authentic witness of the Risen Lord and not simply someone with an impressive curriculum vitae. Look for "bishop-pastors and not princes and functionaries. Please!" the pope told them. "You need to cast your nets wide," the pope said, and not always rely on recommendations from the same people. "If we always go fishing in an aquarium, we will never find them!" As representatives of the pope in a certain country, he said, a nuncio must take the pope's message and share it locally, helping bishops, priests and laypeople live it out in their own cultures. Today, he said, the message is mercy and concrete signs of closeness to people who are often confused, in pain and yearning for a word of hope. In daily contact with a nation's bishops, he said, "you touch with your hands the flesh of the church, the splendor of love that makes it glorious, but also the wounds and injuries that make it beg for forgiveness." A nuncio is sent to a local church "to support and not only to correct," so he must listen before making decisions and reach out to promote understanding and reconciliation, the pope said. "See, analyze and report are essential verbs, but not sufficient in the life of a nuncio," he said. "He also must encounter, listen, dialogue, share, propose and work together" to ensure people know that he truly loves the local population and the local church to which he has been sent. "It is not enough to point a finger or attack those who do not think the way we do," the pope told the nuncios. "That is a tactical method of modern political and cultural wars, but cannot be the church's method." Around the world there are signs of growing fear, leading people to build walls and dig trenches, he said. "We can understand the reasons for the fear, but we can never embrace it." Pope Francis urged the nuncios to go out, "open doors, build bridges, weave ties, maintain friendships, promote unity." Obviously, he said, there is evil in the world and there are situations of injustice and persecution -- especially the persecution of Christians in the Middle East -- that must be denounced. Protecting the freedom of the church in the face of any power that tries to silence it is an enormous task today, the pope said. While diplomatic agreements are important instruments for guaranteeing the church is free to carry out its activities, the church will be truly free only if it proclaims the Gospel and its members are willing to be "a true sign of contradiction" in societies that deny Gospel truths. At the same time, he said, convinced that God is truth, beauty, love and mercy, and confident that he will be victorious in the end, Christians must persistently and patiently practice dialogue and educate consciences. "You are not asked to be gullible lambs," he said, but "I encourage you not to indulge yourselves in a climate of being under siege, giving in to the temptation of feeling sorry for yourself or playing the victim of those who criticize, goad or even belittle us." Mercy is the true power of the church, Pope Francis told the nuncios. "We don't have the right to deprive the world -- including in the forum of bilateral and multilateral diplomatic activity -- of this richness, which no one else can give. This knowledge must push us to dialogue with everyone and, in many cases, to be a prophetic voice for those marginalized because of their faith, ethnicity or economic, social and cultural condition." Foreign diplomats are used to writing in code, but Pope Francis told the nuncios that "mercy must be the cipher of the diplomatic mission of a nuncio." Even in the world of political power, he said, inside every human person there is a space where the voice of God can reach and mercy is what can tap into it. "Dialogue with clarity and do not be afraid that mercy might confuse or diminish the beauty and strength of truth," he said. "The completeness of truth is found only in mercy." - - - Follow Wooden on Twitter: @Cindy_Wooden.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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Pope highlights sanctity of life in Year of Mercy visits

IMAGE: CNS/L'Osservatore RomanoBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis donned a green hospital gown over his white cassock and entered the neonatal unit of a Rome hospital, peering in the incubators, making the sign of the cross and encouraging worried parents. The trip to the babies' ward of Rome's San Giovanni Hospital and then to a hospice Sept. 16 were part of a series of Mercy Friday activities Pope Francis has been doing once a month during the Year of Mercy. By visiting the ailing newborns and the dying on the same day, the Vatican said, Pope Francis "wanted to give a strong sign of the importance of life from its first moment to its natural end." "Welcoming life and guaranteeing its dignity at every moment of its development is a teaching Pope Francis has underlined many times," the statement said. With the September visits he wanted to put "a concrete and tangible seal" on his teaching that living a life of mercy means giving special attention to those in the most precarious situations. During the Mercy Friday visits, Pope Francis has spent time with migrants, the aged, at a recovery community for former drug addicts and at a shelter for women rescued from human trafficking and prostitution. Pope Francis stopped by the emergency room of San Giovanni Hospital before going to the neonatal unit, where 12 little patients were being treated. Five of the newborns, including a pair of twins, were in intensive care and were intubated, the Vatican said. The pope also went to the maternity ward and nursery upstairs, greeting new parents and holding their bundles of joy. At the neonatal unit, the Vatican said, the pope was "welcomed by the surprised personnel" and, like everyone else, put on a gown and followed all the hygiene procedures. Leaving the hospital, he drove across town to the Villa Speranza hospice, which hosts 30 terminally ill patients. The hospice is connected to Rome's Gemelli Hospital. Pope Francis went into each of the rooms and greeted each patient, the Vatican said. "There was great surprise on the part of all -- patients and relatives -- who experienced moments of intense emotion with tears and smiles of joy."- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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CRS announces agency veteran as new CEO

IMAGE: CNS photo/Philip Laubner, CRSBy Rhina GuidosWASHINGTON (CNS) – A six-month search for a new president and CEO for one of the largest humanitarian relief agencies in the world ended at its doorstep, with Catholic Relief Services announcing Sept. 16 that it is hiring a veteran employee -- the agency's No. 2 -- Sean Callahan, as its new president and CEO. "We looked all across the nation and found that the best person for the job was Sean, already working for us," said Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, head of the CRS Board Search Committee, in a statement announcing Callahan's new position, which begins Jan. 1, 2017. He succeeds Carolyn Y. Woo, who ends her five-year term at the end of 2016. Callahan began his career with CRS 28 years ago and has served as director of Human Resources, regional director for South Asia, head of its Nicaragua program and executive vice president for overseas operations. Four years ago he was appointed as the agency's chief operating officer. Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the CRS board, said in a statement that all that experience is what makes Callahan "eminently qualified" for the top spot. Callahan said mission, not climbing the corporate ladder, is what has motivated him in his almost three decades at CRS, the U.S. bishops' overseas relief and development agency based in Baltimore. In his new leadership position, he said he wants to inspire and motivate staff and CRS partners around the world to be united in humanitarian efforts, incorporating different elements of the Catholic Church to help humanity. That means emphasizing the sanctity of life and how charitable efforts to help those suffering around the world is part of that Christian mission. "Sacredness of life is key," Callahan said in a phone interview with Catholic News Service from Montreal. "We need to be aware of the situation of the least among us. We have a responsibility." That means teaching others about situations that bring suffering and snuff out lives around the world. It means finding a way, whether by prayer, voting, volunteering or giving financially, to become involved with finding a solution to the hardship of others. In Pope Francis and the recently canonized St. Teresa of Kolkata, whom Callahan met while working for CRS in Asia, the church has great models and inspiration to meet that mission and understand that Christians have a call to help those in distress, including the poor, refugees and migrants, Callahan said. As head of CRS, he said he wants to help connect those in the United States to see "brothers and sisters in other parts of the world ... connect those who have more with those who have less." It also means helping others understand that leaving one's country is not the preferred option for those who leave their homelands, which is why CRS has programs to help people not emigrate. "Many of these people, what they want is safety and security," he said. CRS tries to provide a livelihood, health care, education, but sometimes they still are faced with having to leave their homelands. "Once they do migrate, it's our responsibility that they're safe and protected. ... That's where we have been inspired by the Holy Father" in reaching out, teaching those who may not be comfortable with foreigners, whether migrants or refugees, understand that Jesus was a migrant, he was a refugee, too, Callahan said. While Americans are rightly proud of their homeland, not all immigrants who are here have chosen to leave what's familiar to them by choice and they would stay in their home countries if they had had safe and secure places to live, he said. That's where organizations such as CRS step in to put mechanisms in place that build stronger communities and try to alleviate some of the hardship. Callahan, 56, has master's degree in law and diplomacy from Tufts University, and is president of Caritas North America. He also is on the board of trustees for Catholic Charities USA and has served on the Executive Committee and Representative Council of Caritas Internationalis, a Vatican-based confederation of 165 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations. When he takes over in January, he will be leading an agency of 5,400 worldwide. In a statement, CRS said its operating expenditures will reach almost $900 million in fiscal year 2016, the highest in its history, rising from $585 million in fiscal year 2013.- - -Follow Guidos on Twitter: @CNS_Rhina.  - - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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Cardinal says group's 'deceptive' ads promote abortion as 'a social good'

By WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Ads appearing around the country "calling for taxpayer funding of abortion in the name of the Catholic faith" are "deceptive," "extreme" and promote "abortion as if it were a social good," said New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan. The abortion advocacy organization Catholics for Choice placed full-page ads Sept. 12 in the print editions of more than 20 local and national publications, including Politico, the Nation, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Dallas Morning News and La Opinion. The group "is not affiliated with the Catholic Church in any way," said Cardinal Dolan in a Sept. 14 statement as the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities. "It has no membership, and clearly does not speak for the faithful. It is funded by powerful private foundations to promote abortion as a method of population control." Years ago, the U.S. bishops said the group, formerly called Catholics for a Free Choice, had "no affiliation, formal or otherwise, with the Catholic Church." "As the U.S. Catholic bishops have stated for many years," Cardinal Dolan said, "the use of the name 'Catholic' as a platform to promote the taking of innocent human life is offensive not only to Catholics, but to all who expect honesty and forthrightness in public discourse." "The organization rejects and distorts Catholic social teaching -- and actually attacks its foundation," he continued. "As Pope Francis said this summer to leaders in Poland, 'Life must always be welcomed and protected ... from conception to natural death. All of us are called to respect life and care for it." Catholics for Choice said in a news release that its "Abortion in Good Faith" campaign was a multiyear effort to overturn the federal Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for virtually all Medicaid abortions. Cardinal Dolan said the group's "extreme ads promote abortion as if it were a social good. But abortion kills the most defenseless among us, harms women, and tears at the heart of families." "Pushing for public funding would force all taxpaying Americans to be complicit in the violence of abortion and an industry that puts profit above the well-being of women and children," he said, adding that the abortion group is pitting "the needs of pregnant women against those of their unborn children." "This is a false choice. Catholics and all people of goodwill are called to love them both," Cardinal Dolan said. "Consider supporting local pregnancy help centers, which do incredible work caring for mothers and children alike in a manner consistent with true social justice and mercy." In Minnesota, where Catholics for Choice placed one of its ads in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the state's largest daily newspaper, the state Catholic conference said the campaign, "woefully misrepresents the noble Catholic social justice tradition." The campaign, by Catholics for Choice, "disregards the need to defend vulnerable human life in all its stages -- a principle at the core of authentic social justice," said the Sept. 12 statement by the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state's bishops. The ad in the Star Tribune quoted Heather Hirsch, a cancer researcher and a mother from the Twin Cities suburb of Cottage Grove: "I believe in my Catholic faith and I have faith in others to make the right choices for themselves." Others featured in the ad campaign are Lauren Barbato, a graduate student and writer from Newark, New Jersey; Kathy Ryg, a former Illinois state legislator, mother of four and grandmother of eight from Vernon Hills, Illinois; John Noble, a student and community organizer from Des Moines, Iowa; and Gloria Romero Roses, a business owner, mother and former congressional candidate from Southwest Ranches, Florida. In its statement, the Minnesota Catholic Conference said, "If there is a desire to help a woman in need who is facing an unplanned pregnancy, the solution as a society is to get her the resources and support she needs to care for her child -- not help her dispose of it." The conference added, "The ad itself makes no effort to ground its claims in any authoritative source of the Catholic faith, which is rooted in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and is proclaimed by the church. It fails to do so because the actual teachings of the Catholic faith embrace a consistent ethic of life from conception to natural death, and categorically condemn abortion as an act of violence against the most innocent and defenseless among us." It also suggested Catholics respond to the ad by giving support to one of the state's pregnancy resource centers, which "care for both mothers and children in a manner consistent with true social justice." In other reaction, pro-life lawyer Helen Alvare, co-founder of Women Speak for Themselves, said she "has decades of experience" with Catholics for Choice's "attempts to be provocative in order to attract free media." The group is "therefore often seen in the media, yet (is) not much of a factor in the pro-life debate on the ground," she said in a statement sent by email to Catholic News Service Sept. 13."They have no members and no grass-roots work. Unlike the Catholic Church and other pro-life activists," she added, Catholics for Choice "provides no help for pregnant women or post-aborted women or children."In Nebraska, the full-page abortion ad appeared in the Omaha World-Herald daily newspaper. Omar Gutierrez, manager of the Archdiocese of Omaha's Office of Missions and Justice and special assistant to Archbishop George J. Lucas, issued a statement decrying the ad. He quoted a section of a 1974 statement of the Catholic Peace Fellowship that says: "No one has the right to choose life or death for another; to assume such power has always been recognized as the ultimate form of oppression." Gutierrez noted that the fellowship also called for a repeal of Roe v. Wade. - - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.