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Pope Francis talks about Uighurs, George Floyd and Universal Basic Income in new interview


The book-length interview is the product of a series of exchanges between the pope and Austen Ivereigh, his English-language biographer.

Are Anointing of the Sick and last rites the same?

by Fr. Hugh Vincent Dyer, OP Dear Father: When my elderly father was hospitalized for a knee replacement, my wife and I wanted to have a priest administer the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick to him. I remember my sister telling me that he wasn’t dying and therefore didn’t need the sacrament. Can you […]

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TERTULLIAN – The blood of the martyrs …

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. — Tertullian

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C.S. Lewis – Safe? … Who said anything about safe? …

Safe? … Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king, I tell you. — C.S. Lewis

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ST. VINCENT DE PAUL – Humility is the virtue …

Humility is the virtue of our Lord Jesus Christ, of his blessed Mother, and of the greatest saints. It embraces all virtues and, where it is sincere, introduces them into the soul. — St. Vincent de Paul

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Cardinal Nichols says he has ‘no wish to walk away’ as bishops launch safeguarding overhaul

CNA Staff, Nov 20, 2020 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Vincent Nichols said Friday that he was committed to overseeing a major overhaul of safeguarding procedures in England and Wales following an independent report that sharply criticized his handling of abuse cases.

The Catholic Church in England and Wales announced sweeping changes to its child protection system Nov. 20, 10 days after the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) issued a scathing report on the Church. 

In a personal statement shared with journalists at a press conference Friday, the cardinal said that the report had “brought together a picture of abuse inflicted in the Catholic Church over a period of 50 years.”

“It is a terrible picture,” he said. “I remain shocked and ashamed. It is a reality that hangs like a dark cloud over my heart and mind.”

He continued: “I say again: I am so sorry. I say this for many bishops who have gone before me over these 50 years. Many hearing this will feel that we let you down. Yes, we did let you down in many ways, in different times, in different places, for different reasons. I apologize again. I am so sorry for all that has happened over these years.”

Nov. 20 saw the publication of an independent review of safeguarding measures in the Catholic Church England and Wales, commissioned by the bishops in October 2019. The review, overseen by child protection expert Ian Elliott, recommended significant changes to the Church’s safeguarding structures. 

Asked if he was the right person to lead the reform of the Church’s safeguarding measures, Nichols told reporters: “I have no wish whatsoever to turn my back on this challenge, no wish to walk away at all. I want to be there. I want to do everything I can to take these important recommendations forward.”

Nichols, who turned 75 on Nov. 8, will continue to serve as president of the bishops’ conference of England and Wales. The day after his 75th birthday, he announced that Pope Francis had accepted his resignation as archbishop of Westminster but that he would remain in post donec aliter provideatur (until further provision is made). 

The bishops of England and Wales studied both the IICSA report and the Elliott Review at their plenary meeting this week.

In a collective statement Friday, they said that they accepted all 15 of the review’s recommendations, which included creating a new body, known as the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA), as a professional standards agency for dioceses and religious orders. 

The report also called for the creation of a reference panel, within the CSSA, composed of abuse survivors who would offer their views on “proposed policy and practice developments.”

In addition, it recommended the formation of a National Tribunal Service to “address the canonical matters connected to clergy discipline and canonical offences.”

The bishops described the review as “a searching analysis of our safeguarding work, in its weaknesses and strengths.” 

They said: “It proposes a number of remedial and forward-looking recommendations, which accord with the IICSA Report’s own recommendations. The work of implementation will begin immediately.”

The bishops added that all Church members would be “required to work to clear, published standards of behavior and action.”

“Most significantly, the Elliott Report has been fashioned with the participation of survivors of abuse,” they said. “Their insight and wisdom has been crucial. We thank them for their great courage and generosity in working with us and we look forward to continuing this growing collaboration.”

Swedish parish holds day of penance and fasting after church vandalism

Rome Newsroom, Nov 20, 2020 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- Christ the King parish in Gothenburg, Sweden, is holding a day of penance and fasting Friday in reparation for the vandalism of their church.

Fr. Tobias Unnerstål told CNA that the church was planning a Mass of Reparation on the night of Nov. 20. While police continued their investigation into who was behind the vandalism, he said that his Catholic community had focused instead on praying for the unknown perpetrator.

“Everyone says ‘let us pray for the perpetrator or perpetrators’ and also make penance for the fact that sacrilege has been committed in the Church, which is an attack on Christ himself,” Unnerstål said.

On Friday, Nov. 13, the priest arrived at his church to find that the pulpit had been overturned and the altar completely stripped. Hymnals were cleared from the shelves and chairs had been thrown off the sanctuary. A fire extinguisher had been emptied over the votive candles, and a wreath and plaque with a commemoration of those who died this year were also vandalized.

Unnerstål said that the police told him that an investigation into the incident began on Nov. 17. 

He recalled that just days before Halloween the altar crucifix had been stolen and then returned without the corpus. “Subsequently, I learned just a few days ago … that my sister parishes’ altar crucifixes were also stolen at the same time, the same afternoon,” he said.

Vandalism against Catholic churches is on the rise in Europe. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) published data earlier this week documenting more than 500 hate crimes against Christians in Europe in 2019. 



The majority of incidents involved attacks on church properties, including arson, the destruction of statues of the Virgin Mary, and theft of consecrated Eucharist hosts from tabernacles. 

Like other Catholic churches in Sweden, Christ the King parish is a diverse and growing community. Mass is offered in multiples languages at the parish, including Swedish, English, Polish, Spanish, Croatian, Tagalog, Slovenian, and Hungarian. There are also Masses in sign language, traditional Latin Masses, and the Maronite Divine Liturgy in Aramaic.

The Mass of Reparation is the initiative of the Polish-speaking community at the parish, Unnerstål said.

Among the different communities within the parish, people have signed up to ensure that someone is always present praying in the parish. This is to discourage further vandalism and avoid having to close or lock the church. 

Catholicism is one of the few growing religions in Sweden, which has been called one of the least religious countries in the Western world. The Catholic Church has gained between 3,000 to 4,000 new members each year due to a combination of immigration and baptism.

‘The situation is just devastating’: Central America left reeling from two storms in two weeks

Destruction in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, Nov. 17. (CNS / Oswaldo Rivas, Reuters)
“The situation is just devastating, and the needs are immense.”

Cardinal Marx dissolves embattled Catholic community in Munich archdiocese

CNA Staff, Nov 20, 2020 / 09:00 am (CNA).- Cardinal Reinhard Marx has dissolved an embattled Catholic community in his archdiocese of Munich and Freising.

The archdiocese announced the cardinal’s decision to disband the Catholic Integrated Community Nov. 20.

The southern German archdiocese said that, according to its records, the association had neither a management body nor members.

The cardinal commissioned a visitation of the group in February 2019. The final report, published in June this year, was highly critical of the association, which was established in 1986 as a public association according to canon law.

CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, said that the archdiocese was considering taking further steps concerning the group. 

Cardinal Marx expressed sympathy for former members of the community, which was founded in 1948 with the intention of being, in its own words, “a place for an enlightened and unabridged Christianity.” 

The cardinal said: “I very much regret that former members had to experience suffering in the dispute with the Catholic Integrated Community and that those responsible did not show themselves to willingly cooperate with the visitors.” 

“The visitors’ report makes it clear that it was not a lack of faith or individual personal failure that made the association problematic, but that some negative experiences were predicated on the requirements and structure of the Catholic Integrated Community.”

Last month, Benedict XVI distanced himself from the community, with which he had maintained close ties for decades. 

Referring to the group by its German initials, IG, Benedict told the German magazine “Herder Korrespondenz”: “Obviously I was not informed about some things in the inner life of the IG, or even deceived, which I regret.” 

As archbishop of Munich and Freising, he had granted the group ecclesiastical recognition in 1978, along with Archbishop Johannes Degenhardt of Paderborn.

Benedict said: “At first I did not realize that in the attempt to shape the things of daily life integrally from faith, terrible distortions of faith were also possible.”

“I deeply regret that this gave the impression that all activities of the community had been approved by the archbishop.”

The archdiocese of Munich and Freising published an interim report in November 2019 in which ex-members of the group described interventions in their private lives. These included the choice of a place of residence and the number of children in a family, as well as the exertion of psychological pressure on relatives.

That month, a former member welcomed the investigation, telling CNA Deutsch that it was “a stroke of good fortune and a blessing for the Church and for the last members of the IG itself, whom one can only feel sorry for.”

On the community’s website -- which appears to have gone offline -- the community had described the accusations in the interim report as “completely groundless.”

According to “Herder Korrespondenz,” a member of the group said that the community had decided to completely cease its “activity as a church association and has since done so.” 

Research by the publication showed, however, that the group apparently planned to continue its work “in a new legal form.”

Carlo Acutis could become the first millennial saint. Here’s the story behind his first miracle.

Matheus Vianna and Gabriel Terron pose before a relic of Carlo Acutis in 2015. Photo courtesy of St. Sebastian's church in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil.
Informally called “patron of the internet” for having published stories of Eucharistic miracles online, Blessed Carlo Acutis is now admired by thousands of Brazilians, young and old.