Browsing News Entries

The 'morally grave' reasons this member of Congress is voting for Biden

Commentary: Someone sent me a video in which a priest said, "You cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat." As the U.S. representative for New York's 3rd District, I am both. So is my candidate for president.

What the election is telling us about the church in this country

Distinctly Catholic: The fact that an evil is intrinsic tells us nothing about its significance for the common good and political life.

Sharon Lavigne's fighting faith on the bayou

Two years ago, Sharon Lavigne founded the faith-based group Rise St. James, putting her at the forefront of a campaign to thwart construction of the Formosa Plastics complex in St. James Parish, Louisiana.

With election over, Catholics in Bolivia hope to bridge country's religious divisions

Now that Luis Arce's landslide victory in Bolivia's election has been confirmed, the socialist economist — and the Catholic Church — has the mission of reuniting an incredibly polarized society.

Be healed

Pencil Preaching for Friday, October 30, 2020

General audience closes to public after positive case of COVID-19

After someone attending Pope Francis' weekly general tested positive for COVID-19, the Vatican announced the audiences would return to being livestreamed without the presence of pilgrims and visitors.

Salvadoran diocese calls for dialogue in increased border militarization

Increased El Salvador government military presence along the country's northern border with Honduras because of how it is affecting the free movement and livelihood of rural communities.

US bishops join Pope Francis in prayer and mourning after Nice attack

CNA Staff, Oct 29, 2020 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- U.S. Catholic bishops joined Pope Francis in mourning a deadly attack at a basilica in Nice on Thursday.

“We join our prayers with Pope Francis and pray for the Catholic community in Nice, especially the families of those who have lost loved ones,” the U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB) stated on Thursday via Twitter. “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.”

On Thursday morning, an attacker with a knife killed three people in the Basilica of Notre Dame in Nice, France.


We join our prayers with #PopeFrancis and pray for the Catholic community in #Nice, especially the families of those who have lost loved ones. "Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them." #NiceAttack

— U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (@USCCB) October 29, 2020  

According to the French newspaper Le Figaro, an elderly woman, a sacristan, and another woman were killed in the attack; the elderly woman was found inside the church “nearly beheaded,” while the other woman died of stabbing wounds after fleeing the attack to a nearby café.  

The mayor of Nice said that the perpetrator had shouted “Allahu Akbar” during and after the attack, and was subsequently shot, injured, and arrested by police.

A Vatican spokesman on Thursday said that Pope Francis was mourning the victims and praying for them and their loved ones.

Archbishop Allen Vigneron, the USCCB vice president, tweeted that he was “deeply saddened” by the attack.

“We Catholics in southeast Michigan hold in prayer our brothers and sisters in faith and all the people of France touched by this tragedy, and first and foremost the victims and their families,” Vigneron said.

“We especially ask Our Lady of Sorrows to obtain for them the grace of uniting their sufferings to the Cross of Christ, so that even in this hour of darkness the light of his Easter victory will shine forth.”

Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia also offered his prayers for the victims and their families. 

“In union with people of goodwill throughout the Diocese of Arlington, the people of France and around the world, I express my deep sorrow and offer fervent prayers for those impacted by the terror attack at the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice, France, this morning,” Burbidge said Thursday. 

“While violence in any form, carried out in any location, is abhorrent, we are particularly struck when attacks happen in sacred places, as sacred spaces offer refuge for the weary and serve as symbols of peace in a torn and broken world. May people of all faiths continue their call for peace as we intensify our prayers for an end to all forms of violence.”

In response to the attack, Bishop André Marceau of Nice said that all churches in Nice would be closed out of precaution. He noted that the “heinous terrorist act" occurred just weeks after a Paris school teacher was beheaded on Oct. 16. The teacher was killed reportedly after he had showed his students a cartoon depicting the prophet Mohammed.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, Vatican prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, stated on Twitter in response to Thursday’s attack that “Islamism is a monstrous fanaticism which must be fought with force and determination.” 

At least two other incidents were reported in France on Thursday, in Lyon and near Avignon. A man waving a handgun, who also made threats and shouted “Allahu Akbar,” was reportedly shot dead by police in Montfavet near Avignon. Another man armed with a long knife was reportedly arrested while trying to board a train in Lyon, according to Al Jazeera; the man had already been flagged as a threat by French intelligence.

Other U.S. leaders condemned Thursday’s attack in Nice. President Trump tweeted that “Our hearts are with the people of France.” 

Rev. Johnnie Moore, a commissioner at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, tweeted on Thursday that “No one should ever fear walking into a place of worship, ANYWHERE of ANY FAITH!”

He tweeted a video of Muslims around the world mourning the attack, noting that “The 1st people I heard from were Muslim friends who find it painful & heretical when terrorists defame God by killing in His name.”

Ashley McGuire, senior fellow for The Catholic Association, said that attacks “are a terrifying reminder that radicalism remains a grave threat to global religious liberty.”

Pompeo: China is world's 'gravest threat' to religious freedom

CNA Staff, Oct 29, 2020 / 11:30 am (CNA).- The U.S. Secretary of State on Thursday called out the Chinese Communist Party as the world’s most serious threat to religious freedom.

In a speech in Jakarta, Indonesia, Oct. 29, Mike Pompeo said that “the gravest threat to the future of religious freedom is the Chinese Communist Party’s war against the people of all faiths—Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, and Falun Gong practitioners alike.”

Pompeo said that he recently exhorted Vatican leaders to support religious freedom in China and elsewhere. On Thursday, he asked the leaders of the overwhelmingly-Muslim Indonesia to do the same.

“And today I want to urge you,” he said, “I want you to urge the same actions I asked the Catholic Church’s leaders to do in the Vatican—we need more religious leaders to speak out on behalf of people of all faiths wherever their rights are being violated.”

Pompeo met with Indonesian leaders on the fifth day of his official trip to South Asian countries from Oct. 25-30. The secretary first visited India for a ministerial dialogue, before traveling to Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Indonesia. He will conclude his trip in Hanoi, Vietnam.

His remarks came one week after the Vatican and China renewed their provisional agreement on the ordination of bishops. The two-year agreement, first signed in September, 2018, was renewed for another two years on Oct. 22.

The deal was signed as a means of unifying the underground Church in China with the state-sanctioned Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. However, there have been continued reports of underground Christians facing harassment and detention for refusing to register with the state-sanctioned Church, the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.

Defenders of the agreement say that conditions for underground Catholics could be far worse if no deal had been struck.

Critics of the agreement, including the former Bishop of Hong Kong, Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, have said that it forced the Vatican into a damaging diplomatic silence on human rights abuses, including the detention of more than one million Uyghurs in concentration camps in the province of Xinjiang.

Pope Francis has notably not made public statements on Xinjiang, amid widespread reports of mass detention camps, forced sterilizations, forced labor, and other abuses committed against Uyghurs and other ethnic Turkic Muslims in China’s northwestern province.

“The resounding [Vatican] silence will damage the work of evangelization,” Cardinal Zen told CNA in September.

Secretary Pompeo told CNA ahead of his Vatican trip that he hoped the Church would use its “enormous amount of moral authority” to push for protection of “believers of all faiths inside of China.”

On Thursday, Pompeo pleaded with Indonesian leaders to speak out on behalf of fellow Muslims in Xinjiang.

“I know that the Chinese Communist Party has tried to convince Indonesians to look away, to look away from the torments your fellow Muslims are suffering,” Pompeo said. He said the CCP has defended its treatment of Uyghurs as part of counterterrorism or poverty alleviation efforts.

Pompeo cited credible reports of forced sterilizations, separation of families, and Muslims forced to eat pork during Ramadan. He emphasized that “there is no counterterrorism justification” for such actions.  

In Hong Kong, authorities have cracked down on pro-democracy protesters in recent months. Pompeo condemned on Thursday morning the arrest of three pro-democracy student activists by Hong Kong police.

French bishops order 'death knell' after three killed in Nice basilica

French bishops ordered a "death knell" to ring from every church of their country Oct. 29 after three people were hacked to death in a basilica in the southern Mediterranean city of Nice.